West Ada

Pedestrian killed in Eagle crash was impaired, had no right of way, driver’s attorney says

Adam Paulson
Adam Paulson

A woman who was struck and killed last November when she tried to cross an Eagle Road intersection was intoxicated at the time — and largely at fault for being hit by a pickup, the attorney for the driver told a magistrate judge in Ada County Court on Thursday.

Defense attorney David Leroy said prosecutors failed to provide evidence in court that Adam Paulson’s alleged intoxicated driving was a “significant cause” of Madeline “Maddie” Duskey’s death. Paulson is charged with vehicular manslaughter.

The actual cause of the fatal collision, Leroy said, was Duskey being on Eagle Road, “where she had no statutory right of way.” He said the coroner’s report on Duskey indicates she was intoxicated.

According to Idaho Code, pedestrians who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs “to a degree that renders them a hazard” can be charged with a misdemeanor if they are found walking in the street (sidewalk is permitted).

Paulson, 42, was arrested and booked into the county jail on Nov. 22. He’s being held at the jail on $1 million bond.

Duskey, a 24-year-old mother of two young children, died at the scene of the crash at South Eagle Road and East Riverside Drive in the early morning hours of Nov. 18.

After hearing testimony and taking a break to review case law Thursday morning, Magistrate Judge John Hawley Jr. ruled that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence that Paulson committed the felony crime for it to move to district court.

Paulson’s next court hearing is 8:30 a.m. March 21 before Fourth District Court Judge Nancy Baskin.

Ada County prosecutors called just one witness to testify Thursday: Ada County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Navest, who interviewed Paulson on the night of the crash and administered field sobriety tests.

Navest testified that Paulson told him that before the crash, he and his girlfriend had been at WilliB’s Saloon, where he drank two vodka cranberry drinks.

Paulson said the couple were talking as he drove north on Eagle Road — when unexpectedly the airbags in his 2016 Chevrolet Silverado went off, Navest recalled in court. He said Paulson made no mention of seeing a vehicle or person in front of him before the collision.

Paulson didn’t say which lane he was in at the time of the collision, but Navest said the truck was stopped in the inside lane, closest to the center line. He later noted there was damage to the headlight area of the passenger side of the truck.

No evidence was presented in court on whether investigators have determined if the light was green when Paulson drove into the intersection, or if Duskey activated the crosswalk. One of the deputies investigating the scene told prosecutors that Duskey appeared to have been in the crosswalk when she was hit, according to court records.

Navest said Paulson was clearly shaken up by the collision, possibly suffering from shock. The deputy recalled detecting a strong odor of alcohol on Paulson’s breath, that the driver spoke with a thick tongue and slurred speech and his eyes were glassy.

Paulson failed field sobriety tests and agreed to take a breathalyzer test. Paulson blew into the device five times, the first was invalid. The blood-alcohol content results of the others were: . 197, .158, .174 and .164, Navest said in court. Those are all about double or more than than the legal driving limit of .08 BAC.

Paulson also submitted to a blood draw once at the jail. The results of that were .213 BAC, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bandy said at court hearing in December.

In February last year, Paulson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence without traumatic injury and destruction/alteration of evidence, according to online court records.

He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but 160 were suspended; his probation officer was given 90 days of discretionary time to impose on Paulson if he was believed to be out of compliance. He was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $1,157.50 in fines and court costs, and $690.36 in restitution.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller