A Snohomish County judge on Friday found probable cause to hold Pamela Masterman-Stearns of Auburn on investigation of DUI, injury hit-and-run and vehicular assault after she allegedly drove drunk and hit a motorcyclist with her car in Lynnwood, then fled the scene in her damaged Volkswagen Jetta.
Masterman-Stearns, 50, is the president of the City of Seattle Native American Employees Association, known as CANOES. She works for Seattle Public Utilities and was among activitists calling for reforms in the wake of the August 2010 fatal shooting of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams by a Seattle police officer.
She was booked into the Snohomish County Jail around 4:30 a.m. Friday, jail records show. She made her first court appearance Friday afternoon, and a judge set bail at $50,000, according to the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
According to the statement of probable cause outlining the police case against her, Masterman-Stearns has been arrested twice before for DUI. Just after 10 p.m. Thursday, she allegedly struck and injured a motorcyclist with her car near the intersection of 168th Street Southwest and Southwest 62nd Avenue West, the statement say. The injured man was taken to Harborview Medical Center, according to Lynnwood police.
One witness told officers Masterman-Stearns got out of her vehicle, walked back to where the motorcyclist was screaming in pain as he lay in the roadway, then got back into her car and took off, the statement says. She was pulled over a short time later in the 19000 block of Highway 99 and the officer noticed her air bags had been deployed and she had a bloody lip, consistent with being hit by an air bag or striking the steering wheel, it says.
According to police, Masterman-Stearns claimed to have drank “one beer” prior to the collision, but was confused and unbalanced while performing field-sobriety tests, the statement says. The officer who stopped her noticed a bottle of alcohol on the backseat of her car and wrote in his report that she stank of alcohol, it says.
She “showed severe signs of impairment” and a breathalyzer test performed in the field showed an initial blood-alcohol content of 0.189, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, the statement says.
Masterman-Stearns was charged in April 2002 with DUI in Auburn. While that case was pending, she was arrested in December 2005 for DUI, also in Auburn, court records show. She was ordered to attend alcohol treatment and was placed on probation, but was also convicted of disorderly conduct for another drunken incident, the records say.