Lincoln County sheriff charged for DUI coverup
Last updated 6/12/2021 at 5:56am
DAVENPORT- Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers faces criminal charges for reportedly preventing DUI charges for his son.
Magers is scheduled for an arraignment in Lincoln County District Court on July 7 for obstructing a law enforcement officer, making false or misleading statements to a public servant, and rendering criminal assistance in the third degree, according to district court records.
The sheriff is accused of committing the crimes between Feb. 11-12 to prevent DUI charges from being leveled against his son, Colton Magers, after Colton got into a single-car rollover crash Feb, 11 at the intersection of Swanson Lake and Runkel Roads, southwest of Creston, records state.
Wade Magers didn't respond to multiple calls for comment.
The charges leveled by the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney stem from an investigative report conducted by the Washington State Patrol.
Colton Magers initially contacted his brother, Devin Magers, and girlfriend, Tyanna M. Evers after his wreck, according to the report. Devin Magers took Colton Magers to Wade Magers' home in Wilbur, where Evers and her friend, Michaela R. Ritt-Mawdsley, met them.
The next morning Colton Magers contacted Lincoln County Sheriff's Office dispatch to report the crash and reportedly said he swerved to miss a deer when he ran off the road.
Dispatch contacted Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Gabe Gants, who directed dispatch to call deputy Dan Christian to the scene of the crash. Christian didn't see anything at the scene indicating an alcohol presence, but couldn't contact Colton Magers by cellphone, the report states.
Christian contacted Wade Magers at 2:30 a.m. o Feb. 12, who told him he thought Colton Magers was at a hospital in Davenport or Grand Coulee for treatment.
Christian tried several more times to contact Colton Magers and finally reached him at 3 p.m. on Feb. 13, according to the report. He allegedly admitted to Christian he didn't swerve to miss a deer but was reaching for his cellphone and speeding. Christian gave Colton Magers a speeding ticket.
The same day, Evers contacted Gants at the sheriff's office and claimed she, Colton Magers, and Ritt-Mawdsley were told by Wade Magers to say Colton Magers had swerved to hit a deer, and Wade Magers wouldn't allow Colton Magers to seek medical attention until his blood-alcohol content was zero, according to records.
Evers said she didn't think Colton Magers was intoxicated and didn't have any visible injuries, but possibly had internal injuries, the report says.
She claimed Wade Magers said "If anyone asks, I did not know about this and I was never here," according to the report.
Lincoln County Undersheriff Kelly Watkins contacted the Grant County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) on Feb. 17 and requested they conduct a criminal investigation into Evers' allegations. GCSO Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Kriete conducted the investigation.
Kriete interviewed Colton Magers, Evers, and Ritt-Mawdsley, and investigated text messages from Evers indicating a strained relationship between Colton Magers and his parent,' according to court records. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office provided a recording of Colton Magers' initial 9-1-1 call after his crash, the report says.
Wade Magers was contacted for a statement by Kriete, but he declined, according to the report.
Kriete concluded there was potential for the charges of obstructing a law enforcement officer and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. It was based on statements that Wade Magers gave to Christian saying he didn't know where his son was when Christian called the night of the crash, according to records.
The report states Colton Magers was at Wade Magers' home when Christian called for Colton Magers' location.
Kriete concluded the potential for a charge of rendering criminal assistance in the third degree. It is based on statements that Wade Magers believed Colton Magers drove under the influence of alcohol, didn't report it, and prevented his son from going to the hospital for his injuries to prevent his possible intoxication from being discovered.
The Grant County Sheriff's Office submitted its findings to the Lincoln County Prosecutor for a criminal follow-up investigation. The prosecutor requested the Washington State Patrol conduct that investigation, according to the report.
Spangler reviewed written reports by Christian, Gants, and Kriete, and watched video-recorded statements by Colton Magers, Evers, and Ritt-Mawdsley.
The state patrol contacted Franklin County Deputy Prosecutor Albert Lin on Apr. 1, who agreed to handle the case review.
Evers did a recorded interview with Spangler on Apr. 12 and admitted she was afraid to tell Kriete that Colton Magers had been drinking before his crash and it played a role in the crash, according to records.
She said Colton Magers admitted he was drinking and said she was told Devin Magers removed the beer from the vehicle after the crash before anyone arrived. She added that she didn't think Colton Magers was capable of making his own decisions the night of the wreck, records state.
Colton Magers spoke to the state patrol and said he had four broken ribs, a compression fracture of one of his lower vertebrae, and a pinhole puncture in his left lung as a result of the crash. He admitted he was afraid for his job and Wade Magers' job security when he wasn't honest to Kriete about the cause of the crash, according to records.
Colton Magers reportedly admitted he had consumed at least eight 16-ounce beers before driving that night, records state. He said it was true that he was trying to get to his cellphone, but the primary cause of the crash was because he was drinking and speeding.
He told the state patrol he was asked several times if he wanted to go to the hospital that night, but he kept saying "I don't know," according to records.
The state patrol asked Colton Magers if his parents, including Wade Magers, prevented him from going to the hospital. Colton Magers claimed they did, saying they should've taken him, as he wasn't coherent enough to know what his injuries were.
Ritt-Mawdsley told the state patrol on April 13 that Wade Magers didn't want Colton Magers to go to the hospital until his blood-alcohol level was down. She also said she heard Evers yelling at Wade Magers to take Colton Magers to the hospital, and Wade Magers disagreeing, according to records.
Gants told the state patrol that Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Chief Civil Deputy Denise Liebing had more information to share.
Liebing told Spangler that Wade Magers called her around 8 a.m. the morning after Colton Magers' crash to inform her of the collision. Wade Magers told Liebing he hadn't seen Colton at all since the crash, according to records.
A few days later, Wade Magers allegedly told Liebing he "f***ed up" and did know where Colton Magers was after the crash. Wade Magers never told Liebing about the use of alcohol, records state.
State patrol investigators reviewed Kriete's case file, re-interviewed the same individuals, and obtained more phone and text records.
They reportedly found contradictory statements by Evers and Colton Magers regarding Magers' alcohol consumption before driving. They allegedly both admitted they lied to Kriete when providing their original statements out of fear of Colton Magers getting a DUI.
The state patrol concluded that it was likely, but can't be definitively proven, that Colton Magers was likely under the influence when he crashed.
The patrol concluded Wade Magers was likely at home with Colton Magers when he spoke to Christian and claimed he didn't know where his son was or whether he sought medical treatment following the crash.
Wade Magers' appearance in district court is binge presided over by Garfield County District Court Judge Thomas W. Cox. Lincoln County District Court Judge Dan B. Johnson disqualified himself from presiding over the case.
The appearance is scheduled for July 7 at 10 a.m.