Charges: Drunken driver strikes tree in Bellingham, injuring 2 children, 2 women


BELLINGHAM - A suspected drunken driver faces four counts of vehicular assault for slamming his car into a tree on Squalicum Way, sending two young children and two women to the emergency room.

The small silver Chevrolet driven by Fred Anthony Huaracha, 18, left skid marks 400 feet long Tuesday, May 7, before crashing onto a hillside west of the 1000 block of Squalicum, according to charging documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Police arrived to find a 2-year-old boy with blood on his face, arms and hands. The boy needed to be checked for head injuries at St. Joseph hospital. The impact left his 4-year-old brother with serious cuts to his face, too. The older boy had not been strapped into a booster seat, according to charging documents.

Their mother, 22-year-old Angela Juarez, had a large bruise on her forehead and blood on her chin. She told first-responders that Huaracha drank alcohol before driving, prosecutors allege.

Mariela Huaracha, who sat in the front passenger seat, lost consciousness for about six minutes after the 6:19 p.m. crash, Fred Huaracha later told police, according to the charges. Officers saw her struggling to stand. She seemed confused and couldn't tell police her name.

Fred Huaracha had a "small cut on the bridge of his nose," the charges say. He didn't need medical aid.

According to prosecutors, he admitted to drinking Four Loko, a brand of flavored malt liquor, and a breathalyzer measured his blood-alcohol level at 0.077. In Washington, the legal limit is 0.02 for drivers under the drinking age.

A judge granted a warrant for a blood draw.

On Friday afternoon, prosecutors charged Fred Huaracha with four counts of vehicular assault and one count of driving under the influence. He has since posted $20,000 bond. Under the terms of his release, he's not allowed to drive or to drink alcohol.

Nobody picked up the phone at his listed number Tuesday.

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