Woman charged in injury wreck

Desirea C. Casey is accused of being drunk when she crashed her car in March, injuring two passengers.

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WALLA WALLA -- A woman is scheduled for her first court appearance late this month after allegedly causing a two-vehicle wreck in March that injured her two passengers.

Desirea C. Casey, 21, of 213 W. Maple St., was charged Friday in Superior Court with two felony counts of vehicular assault. She's accused of driving recklessly, under the influence of alcohol or with disregard for the safety of others when the collision with a tractor-trailer occurred on U.S. Highway 12 at Hussey Road.

Officials said Casey -- who had been drinking beer -- was driving a 2003 Honda Accord north on Hussey about 12:04 a.m. March 14, traveling approximately 70 mph in the 30-mph zone.

She allegedly failed to stop for the stop sign at the highway, tried to turn right to head east, but turned wide into the westbound lane. There, the vehicle collided with the oncoming 1996 Freightliner truck driven by David S. Irwin, 51, of Rocklin, Calif.

Casey's blood-alcohol level was 0.16, twice the legal limit, according to a report by the state Toxicology Laboratory.

Both of Casey's passengers -- Cortny A. Ponticelli, 20, of Milton-Freewater, and Heather L. Mercado, 19, of Walla Walla -- suffered multiple injuries. Ponticelli was hospitalized at Providence St. Mary Medical Center. Mercado was airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital in Spokane for treatment of "severe facial fractures including damage to the socket of her left eye" causing double vision, according to a State Patrol report filed in court.

Casey was treated and released at St. Mary.

She hasn't been arrested, but is being summoned to appear in court Aug. 31.

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