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Man charged with drunken driving in crash that injures passenger.

Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

For the third time in as many months, Eugene police found themselves responding early Sunday to a major traffic accident in which alcohol and speeding were believed to be involved.

A 44-year-old woman, Valerie Peronto of Eugene, was injured at 1:37 a.m. when the 1997 Dodge Avenger in which she was riding veered off Empire Park Drive north of Barger Drive and struck a tree, police said. Peronto was in serious condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The driver of the car, 47-year-old Tommy Dean Perdue of Eugene, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and two counts of assault, police said. He was lodged in the Lane County Jail.

Several hours before the accident, Perdue and Peronto were contacted by police in regard to a call at the Four Corners Hop House on Roosevelt Boulevard, police said. Perdue was intoxicated at the time and had been injured in an apparent fall, police said. He was transported to a local hospital via ambulance for medical attention, police said.

At the crash scene, police found Perdue's vehicle on the west side of the road. They said it appeared that he was trying to negotiate a curve when he lost control; they did not disclose how fast they believe Perdue may have been traveling. The department's forensic investigation reconstruction survey team is working the case.

Four people, including two children, were killed in January when driver Matthew N. Ellmers ran a red light at a west Eugene intersection; police said he had been drinking and traveling about 70 mph. It was the deadliest traffic crash in Eugene in at least 30 years.

On March 13, police cited Korey Russell Carden, 22, after he allegedly ran a red light at 18th Avenue and Chambers Street and hit a Ford Explorer. Three in the Explorer, including two 13-year-old girls, were hurt.

Police spokeswoman Me-linda Kletzok said the spate of accidents involving alcohol and speeding is frustrating. "It's intolerable to our community to have this sort of behavior," she said.
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Title Annotation:Public Safety
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 23, 2009
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