An Edmonds woman who was convicted of vehicular homicide a decade ago is back in court again.
This time, Dawn Vrentas is facing possible felony DUI charges stemming from a 1 a.m. traffic stop last Saturday on Interstate 5 near 145th Street. Charging documents say she was pulled over by a Washington State Patrol trooper for speeding. Vrentas denied any alcohol consumption at the scene. The trooper noticed a “strong odor” of alcohol and administered a breathalyzer test, which indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.14. The legal limit in Washington State is 0.08. She was taken into custody and her car was towed to a Northgate-area tow yard.
The King County District Court judge Arthur Chapman set bond at $750,000. She posted bond and was released on Monday. Her release conditions specify that she cannot drive and must remain clean and sober. According to Dan Donahoe of the King County Prosecutor’s Office, formal charges will be filed Wednesday.
Vrentas has a history of drunken driving offenses dating back to a DUI conviction in Spokane County in 2000 when she was in her late teens.
Then in 2003 the 22-year old Vrentas lost control of her car on Highway 211 near Davis Lake while returning from a party in northeastern Washington’s Pend Orielle County. The car landed in the water. She escaped from the car, but her two passengers died in the crash. Vrentas’ blood alcohol level was 0.16.
She was released on bail while awaiting trial, but according to Pend Orielle County Prosecutor records was rearrested for violating the conditions of her release by drinking at a party.
Convicted on two counts of vehicular homicide, Vrentas was sentenced to serve five and a half years. She was released in 2007 from the Washington State Correctional Center for Women in Gig Harbor.
After her release, Vrentas began work with the Post-Prison Education Program, which helps former prisoners return to society by providing access to higher education. By all reports she was well liked by staff and students, and did an effective and exemplary job. Six months ago she was promoted to managing director of the program.
Prior to this recent incident, Vrentas had been employed by the City of Edmonds Parks Department at Yost Pool, but according to Mayor Dave Earling “she no longer works for the City.”
— By Larry Vogel