The Portland woman accused of killing a Longview man and injuring seven others while driving the wrong way on Tennant Way on Friday night told police she’d had two beers about three hours before the crash, according to court records released Monday.
Nichole Difuria McCaslin, 32, briefly appeared in court via video feed Monday but did not speak. She is under arrest on suspicion of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault, but she has not yet been formally charged.
McCaslin’s right arm was in a sling, and she only nodded when spoken to. Bail was set at $75,000, the amount prosecutors requested. McCaslin bailed out by Monday afternoon after posting 10 percent in cash through a bail bondsman and the rest in collateral.
Terms of the bail also included waiving extradition back to Washington so McCaslin could return to her home in Portland. She also must not drink alcohol and cannot drive a car. Her lawyer, Adam Dean, told the judge she has two small children she cares for in Portland and that’s why she wanted to be able to return.
He also said McCaslin has no prior criminal record and worked in the Longview area, but he did not specify where. He had requested $25,000 bail. Dean said he had no comment after the court hearing.
The crash killed Brett Dee Dawdy, 47, of Longview, who was driving his wife, daughter and a friend back from a ski trip. His wife, Shana Dawdy, suffered a broken back in the crash, and their 14-year-old daughter Harmony suffered a broken pelvis, according to police reports. Both remain in St. John Medical Center in satisfactory condition. The couple also has an older daughter, according to Daily News archives. She was not involved in the crash.
An autopsy on Brett Dawdy is planned for Tuesday, the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office said.
According to the probable cause statement, McCaslin was driving the wrong way on Tennant Way at 6:40 p.m. when she struck several vehicles in the westbound lane in a crash that closed the highway for hours. The crash happened near the Lakeside Industries asphalt plant.
Longview police are asking anyone who has information about the crash to call 360-442-5800.
The Longview Fire Department had to cut McCaslin out of her 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a Jaws of Life tool, and she was treated for a broken wrist before being booked into jail.
According to court records, McCaslin told a paramedic she’d had two beers prior to the collision. She also repeated that to police when they spoke with her. After being read her rights, McCaslin said, “Of course I know my rights. My husband is a lawyer. What do you want to ask me?” according to court records. She then told the officer she’d had two beers at the Hop-N-Grape bar in Longview at 3 p.m. Results of a blood-alcohol test are still pending.
McCaslin was described as having “bloodshot, droopy and watery eyes” and “spoke in a slurred and lethargic manner,” according to the police report.
McCaslin also struck two other vehicles. Five people in those vehicles were treated at St. John Medical Center and released. Two other vehicles narrowly missed colliding with McCaslin, police said.
McCaslin is married to attorney J. Clay McCaslin of Portland. He sat in the audience during McCaslin’s appearing and left as soon as it was completed. According to his law office’s website, the couple has lived in Portland since 2004 and they have two children.