Crime

Man accused of crashing vehicle while drunk, with young children inside

A man who police said was drunk when he crashed his truck with his young children inside and then threatened to kill a sheriff’s deputy was in the Pierce County Jail on Tuesday.

Chad Crutchfield, 31, pleaded not guilty Monday to driving under the influence with minors in the vehicle, felony harassment, reckless endangerment and driving without an ignition interlock device.

He also pleaded not guilty to first-degree driving with a suspended license, third-degree malicious mischief and resisting arrest.

Charging papers give this account:

Officers responded to the wreck Saturday in the 5300 block of South Orchard Street in University Place, where they found Crutchfield holding his 18-month-old son outside a truck that was high centered on landscaping.

A sheriff’s deputy got in to turn off the truck, which was still running with its wheels spinning. That’s when the deputy noticed Crutchfield’s 3-year-old daughter in the backseat.

The deputy and a Fircrest police officer asked Crutchfield what happened, at which point, they said, he swore at them.

The authorities said they noticed he smelled like intoxicants, was slurring his words and had watery eyes.

A tow truck driver who’d earlier stopped to help told investigators he’d seen Crutchfield in the driver’s seat, and told another person to call 911 when he saw the two kids in the truck.

Authorities called the mother of the children when Crutchfield gave them her number. Her phone was off, and when police asked Crutchfield for other numbers of people who could take the kids, he swore at them again.

Eventually, Child Protective Services took the children, who were later returned to their mother.

While being arrested, Crutchfield struggled with officers. He told one deputy he would “take care of you and your kids.”

Crutchfield has five prior DUI convictions.

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