A Cody woman was arrested at around 8 p.m. March 19 for driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury to another person after she crashed into the break room of El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant on Big Horn Avenue, pinning an adult male under her truck.
“I arrived on scene and observed the bed of a white pickup truck sticking out of the south facing wall of El Vaquero,” Cody Police Officer Thomas Wilshusen wrote in the affidavit. “I entered the restaurant through a west facing door and observed debris.”
Heather Lee Highland Johnson, 58, was charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol — her third offense within 10 years — and one count of DUI causing serious bodily injury as well as one count of reckless driving.
“She drove her vehicle in wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” the affidavit said. “Johnson was driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances and caused serious bodily injury.”
Johnson is alleged to have caused injury to the grandson of Ana Islas, who owns the restaurant.
Alejandro Hernandez was trapped under Johnson’s vehicle when Wilshusen arrived on scene.
“I observed Hernandez laying in a chair [and] was pinned under the front of the truck and could not free himself,” Wilshusen wrote in the affidavit.
Cody volunteer firefighters arrived on scene shortly after and “were able to lift the vehicle up enough to extract the victim from underneath the truck,” a CPD press release said.
Hernandez was taken to the Cody Regional Health Emergency Room, and later released, the press release said.
Wilshusen wrote in the affidavit that Johnson had put Hernandez “at a substantial risk of death” when she crashed into the restaurant.
The restaurant was closed at the time of the crash with no customers inside, the press release said.
But, Javier Barajas, the son-in-law of Ana Islas,was inside the restaurant. He was working when he heard a loud crash, the affidavit said.
“Barajas ran to the south room and observed a white truck in the building,” the affidavit said.
Barajas told police he confronted Johnson, who he said was attempting to drive away from the scene. Barajas then turned off the truck and took the keys, the affidavit said.
The paramedic who helped Johnson said he could detect a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage while speaking with her, the affidavit said.
Before the crash, Park County Dispatch and CPD had been looking for Johnson’s white pickup after they received a REDDI report, the affidavit said.
Around 6 p.m., the first REDDI report came in, reporting an intoxicated driver headed towards Cody. Shortly after, a caller informed officers that Johnson was spotted at Rocky Mountain Liquor.
In the midst of talking with an officer about the REDDI report, Wilshusen received a report of the crash on Big Horn Avenue.
Johnson was taken to the emergency room, where she is alleged to have told a registered nurse that she drank approximately 32 ounces of vodka before the crash, according to the affidavit.
“Johnson also stated she smoked marijuana every day and currently took a muscle relaxer,” the affidavit said.
Johnson was placed under arrest and taken to the Park County Detention Center where she told Wilshusen she had taken gabapentin and ketamine before the crash as well.
During her arraignment in Park County Circuit Court, Johnson was given a $15,000 cash or surety bond and ordered not to drive any vehicle without a GPS alco-sensor, which detects if someone is driving drunk.
She was further ordered not to drive any motor vehicle except to attend medical appointments and to see her attorney, the bond conditions document said.
If convicted on all charges, Johnson faces up to 11 years in prison with a fine of up to $6,500.
SAD, sad situation all the way around.
That's what Ozzy would call a typical Wednesday afternoon outing.
This person should not be allowed to drive a car for a while when they get out of prison.
Another model citizen.
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