Driver charged in fatal crash Police: Suspect drunk — and texting

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COEUR d’ALENE — A 35-year-old father of two with several prior DUI convictions is in the Kootenai County jail facing manslaughter charges.

His bond is $150,000.

Cory Kreager, of Priest River, was arrested for DUI Saturday after a crash at the intersection of Boekel Road and U.S. 95 that killed 38-year-old Ryan Allen of Cocolalla and sent three others to the hospital.

Kreager’s BAC registered at .129 and .122. He has been charged with four felonies, including vehicular manslaughter and three counts of aggravated DUI. If convicted, he could serve a combined 60 years behind bars.

Vern Allen, 74, of Cocolalla, Patricia Allen, 71, of Cocolalla, and Troy Allen, 51, of Sandpoint, were transported to Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene. On Monday night, Vern and Patricia remained at Kootenai Health. Vern’s condition, according to a hospital representative, was serious and Patricia’s condition was fair. Troy had been treated and released.

At a court appearance earlier in the day Monday in Coeur d’Alene, deputy prosecutor Destry Randles asked for a $250,000 bond for Kreager, who has prior DUI and open container convictions.

Randles called DUI a violent crime because it leads to tragedies like Saturday’s crash. Kreager had several opportunities, Randles said, to quit drinking and driving but instead got drunk, drove east on Boekel Road while texting on his cellphone, and without stopping at the intersection of U.S. 95, drove his black Ford pickup across the southbound lane and into the side of the northbound Dodge Caravan driven by Vern Allen.

“Sending the minivan airborne, turning over and over and over again,” Randles said. “This is the result. This is what we’re talking about.”

Ryan Allen, who was in a wheelchair seatbelted in back of the minivan, was ejected in the crash. Other occupants of the minivan had to be extricated, Randles said.

Defense attorney Robyn McPherson asked the court to release Kreager on his own recognizance because he is a husband and father of two with strong ties to the community.

He works in a Laclede log yard and has many financial obligations.

The family depends on his income, McPherson said.

Kreager’s previous DUI convictions are 15 years old, she said. Since then, he has become a father and a husband, with a mortgage and a steady job.

After setting the lower bond amount, Magistrate Timothy Van Valin said he didn’t believe that Kreager ever quit drinking and driving.

“You have two DUI convictions, but you can’t tell me you weren’t drinking and driving on a routine basis and have me believe that,” the judge said.

Kreager’s next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, will be within 14 days if he fails to post bond and stays in jail. If he is released on bond, his next appearance will be within 21 days.

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