Alva man faces felony charge after car accident
April 30, 2017
A man trying to make a turn onto Oklahoma Boulevard struck a retaining wall on Monday, April 24, in Alva. The car engine caught on fire, the driver was taken to the hospital and he now faces charges in Woods County Court.
Tomas Diego, 24, of Alva has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, a felony. The crime is punishable by a fine of $500 to $5,000 or imprisonment for one to five years, or both.
In addition Diego has been charged with a misdemeanor of person involved in personal injury accident while under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor. That charge carries a punishment of imprisonment for not less than 90 days nor more than a year and a $2,500 fine.
Diego appeared in court on Tuesday, April 25, and his bond was set at $2,500. His next court appearance is June 13.
According to court papers, on Monday about 2:46 p.m. Alva Police Officer Kris Franta arrived at Seventh and Oklahoma for a report of a vehicle on fire. The car struck a concrete retaining wall on the edge of the NWOSU campus while attempting to turn east onto Oklahoma from Seventh.
The driver of the vehicle, Tomas Diego, was lying in the grass approximately 20 feet away. Woods County Undersheriff Keith Dale was trying to get Diego to regain consciousness. When he woke, Dale asked why he kept passing out. According to the officer's affidavit, Diego replied, "I'm drunk." Franta stated he could detect the odor of alcohol from Diego who had a large abrasion on his face. Diego was transported to Share Medical Center by Alva EMS.
Meanwhile, the Alva Fire Department was on scene putting out the fire in the engine compartment of the 2006 Lincoln. The vehicle eventually had to be towed away.
Officer Franta went to the hospital to talk to Diego. Dispatch advised the vehicle's owner, Abby Gaisford of Alva, had called stating she wanted to report the vehicle stolen. Although Diego shook his head when read the implied consent, a blood sample was taken for testing due to the severity of the accident and damage to the vehicle.
Franta spoke with an EMT who said Diego had a smell of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet while walking to the ambulance and was swaying while the cot was being unloaded. The EMT said Diego told them he had smoked a lot of weed, and when asked how much he said a lot. When asked how he smoked it, he said he used a bong.
Officer Franta and Brian File left the hospital and went to Hart Street to speak with Gaisford about her vehicle. She said she got off work around noon and was trying to take a nap. Around 12:45 p.m. Diego said he was leaving, and Gaisford fell asleep.
Gaisford said around 2:50 p.m. she received a phone call from her mother about the car being wrecked. Franta asked if she gave Diego permission to drive the vehicle, and she said she did not.
Diego was released from the hospital and File transported him to the Woods County Jail. Franta read Diego his Miranda Warning, and he agreed to answer questions. Diego said he took Gaisford's car but she gave him permission. When asked how much he had to drink, Diego said four shots of vodka but he did not recall smoking any marijuana or where he was drinking or who he was with, according to the court affidavit.
In addition to the Woods County charges, Diego was issued a municipal citation for driving without a valid driver's license.