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Driver fails to show for crash sentencing

A warrant has been issued for a man who failed to appear at his sentencing Monday for the death of a passenger in a Cave Junction-area crash.

Erric Scott Dowell Fisher, 20, was to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants during an April 18, 2015, crash on Holland Loop Road.

The accident killed Austin Pedro, 35, and seriously injured Cambria River Lin Cook, then 22, of Cave Junction. Cook was riding in the front passenger seat, and Pedro was riding in the back seat.

Pedro’s sister drove from Bend, about 200 miles away, to attend Monday’s sentencing, Josephine County District Attorney Ryan Mulkins told Judge Pat Wolke as the judge considered how to respond to Fisher’s no-show.

Fisher’s defense attorney, Laurie Norman, said she had been in touch with him during the course of the case and that he had made previous court dates. She said she didn’t know why he wasn’t in court Monday and that she had tried unsuccessfully to reach him by phone.

Judge Wolke issued a failure-to-appear warrant, with orders for police to arrest Fisher instead of just citing him and for jail staff to not release him if someone needs to be set free because the jail doesn’t have enough staff to monitor the number of inmates.

“Beyond available resources” releases are common for the Josephine County Jail due to lack of funding to pay for staff.

Wolke also ruled that Fisher would forfeit his bail money. Bail had been set at $50,000, and he was released after posting the standard 10 percent, in this case $5,000.

Fisher now faces a new bail amount of $500,000.

Police accounts of the crash indicate that Fisher was driving a 1993 Acura Integra when it went off the road and crashed sideways into a tree along Holland Loop Road. Pedro died at the scene.

Officers used a stun gun on Fisher to subdue him at the scene. Several hours after the crash, his blood-alcohol was measured at 0.11 percent. The legal limit for someone 21 and older is 0.08 percent. Fisher was 19 at the time.

Reach reporter Patricia Snyder at 541-474-3806 or psnyder@thedailycourier.com