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Caleb Pruitt posts bail, awaits trial in Angela Burke fatality

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 21st, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Caleb Pruitt

Caleb Pruitt, the man charged with manslaughter for his involvement in the fatal collision that took the life of Angela Burke as she attempted to cross SW Barbur Blvd on December 15th, has posted bail and is currently on house arrest at his family home in Hood River.

Pruitt was initially charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Criminally Negligent Homicide, but after Portland Police investigators and the Multnomah County DA's office learned more about what happened that night, they upped the charges to include Manslaughter — a crime with a minimum prison sentence of 75 months.

The significant upgrade in charges came with an increased bail amount and new conditions on Pruitt's release. Pruitt had posted 10 percent of $50,000 bail for the initial charges, but the new charges came with a bail amount of $250,000. Unable to pay, Pruitt was booked back into jail last week and on Wednesday he was in court for a release hearing.

According to Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Chuck Sparks, at that hearing Pruitt's bail was reduced to $200,000 and he has since paid the 10 percent and has been released under strict conditions.

Sparks says while he's under house arrest, Pruitt is wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet. He is only permitted to travel to work and to legal appointments. Pruitt is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle and he's required to begin a drug and alcohol treatment program.

The case is pending trial.

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Comments
  • Nick V January 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Probably wrong, but the fact that he can afford the (at least?) $20K is even more upsetting.

    And I never would have thought only a percentage of bail would be sufficient to release someone from prison......?????

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    • pixie January 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Here's the ORS cite for the 10 percent of the security amount needing to be paid to secure release:

      https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/135.265

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      • Jack January 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

        I still don't get it (to be honest I didn't try too hard to understand all the legal speak). If no one ever has to pay more than 10%, whats the point of that other 90%?

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        • pixie January 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

          In general, this statute replaced the old system whereby a defendant paid a bail bondsman 10% of the total bail, and the bondsman paid the court the full 100%. Some would keep the 10% as a fee, even if the defendant was acquitted. Seeing this as unfair to the innocent, the State stepped in to run the bail system, charging the same 10%, but now if a defendant is acquitted, the fee ends up being just 1.5%. In both systems, a defendant must come up with 10% of whatever amount the court sets as bail.

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        • wsbob January 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

          "...If no one ever has to pay more than 10%, whats the point of that other 90%?" Jack

          People don't have to pay the additional 90 percent, as long as they stick around for the trial. If the person charged flees, someone is then obliged to pay the balance of the full bail amount.

          This is my general understanding of how how bail is supposed to work as a deterrent against flight. For a lot of reasons, bail is a good idea if everything works out right, and the person being released doesn't get into further trouble when not behind bars.

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  • Duncan January 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Nick- he is still presumed innocent. As long as he shows up for trial and goes to jail (one would assume) after he is convicted, he has a legal right to be out before the trial begins.

    It is kind of stupid of him though- he is going to get pridon time and he could start working it off now.

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  • Bjorn January 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Paying 10% of the bond amount is pretty much what everyone does, that is what a bail bondsman is. Anyone who owns a home that is above water and has a job could probably get a 20k home equity loan, cash advances on credit cards for 20k wouldn't be that hard either... Don't get me wrong I don't like this guy and I think what he did is manslaughter, but you don't have to be loaded to be able to make 200k bail and the fact that it took him a number of days to come up with it means that he likely didn't just have it lying around.

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  • Paul Tay January 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Duncan
    Nick- he is still presumed innocent. As long as he shows up for trial and goes to jail (one would assume) after he is convicted, he has a legal right to be out before the trial begins.
    It is kind of stupid of him though- he is going to get pridon time and he could start working it off now.

    Time served.

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  • Jeff January 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    welcome to our overcrowded prison system.

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    • lothar January 22, 2011 at 3:13 am

      Paying your bail has nothing to do with prison population.

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  • Charles Kuttner January 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Certain irony seeing the ad for the Bike Bar below this story...

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    • Jack January 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      I would only think it ironic if...
      - The bike bar was actually rideable when loaded.
      - The bike bar had about 10 times more mass.
      - The bike bar were capable of doing 70 mph.
      - The bike bar somehow encouraged both drinking AND driving, not just drinking.
      - Other bike bars had been involved in accidents causing thousands of deaths each year.

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      • A.K. January 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm

        Indeed. The very idea behind the bike bar is, presumably, to bring beer to YOU, so you don't need to go anywhere.

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  • Opus the Poet January 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Remember, it wasn't alcohol that caused this death, it was alcohol combined with the irresponsible use of a motor vehicle. Just as motor vehicles can be used responsibly, so can alcohol. They can even be used together responsibly, drunks can be stacked in the back of a car like cordwood to return them home after an evening of "over-celebrating". Just make sure there's a sober person at the controls.

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  • John Russell (jr98664) January 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Typo: "alchohol-monitoring ankle bracelet" should read "alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet"

    It honestly makes me wonder why all cars are not required to have an ignition interlock device.

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    • A.K. January 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Yes, rather than wasting time on banning kids on bikes, they should mandate steering wheels that can detect alcohol through the skin and refuse to start the vehicle.

      No one should be against this, even the most pro-car people around. Does anyone want to drive on the same roads as drunks? Considering how often a wreck involves two cars, the drunk driver walks away (this has always puzzled me...) while the innocent person in the other vehicle dies for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      It would also be a boon to insurance companies, no longer having to pay out claims for entirely preventable accidents.

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      • middle of the road guy January 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm

        Hmmm...helmet laws are an invasion of privacy and unnecessary government intervention, but this is not?

        How easy would it to be to simply throw beer on a steeringwheel with a sensor to lock up the car indefinitely? What about an EMT has has alcohol on his hand?

        This seems like simple answer but reality is not simple.

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        • Jack January 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

          Yes, I often spill beer on my steering wheel when I'm not drinking and driving. And there's no way we could allow exceptions to these laws for emergency vehicles.

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          • middle of the road guy January 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

            My point exactly.....there will always be exceptions. Usually enough to outweigh the majority of people who do follow the law.

            And my point is also that cyclists usually want to be the exception. Responsibility if for other people.

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        • Barney January 23, 2011 at 2:19 am

          Yup, it's an invasion of privacy if the law tries to determine when you need to be saved from your own self-destruction. It is not invasion of privacy when the law determines that others need to be saved from your destruction of them. Simple difference.

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  • Tim January 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    It would also be a boon to insurance companies, no longer having to pay out claims for entirely preventable accidents.

    Which really takes the bite out of the penalty of accidents caused by alcohol. I think it is about the only premeditated crime that insurance will pay a persons restitution, since insurance is mandatory.

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    • middle of the road guy January 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Well, we might as well extend this technology to drunk cycling.

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      • Jack January 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

        Just because people who ride bikes believe they should have reasonable & safe access to roads, does not mean that bikes and motor vehicles are the same thing.

        But I'm willing to compromise. How about for every death caused by drinking and [driving|bicycling], x dollars are put towards prevention/enforcement of said activity?

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        • middle of the road guy January 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

          For once, can someone on this site just look at the issue at hand, and not try to make comparisons that are not really correlated?

          So it cycling and driving are not the same thing, why try to like drunk driving deaths to each other?

          I would think that the enforcement effort would differ for each mode, and therefor the dollars put toward prevention would have different marginal benefits.

          There already are dollars put forth towards reducing drunk driving deaths.

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          • Mike Fish January 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

            You lost me when you generalized all the users on this sites. Many of us have different opinions - one person doesn't speak for everyone else.

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  • random_rider January 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I wonder how much this equipment would increase the price of a new car. My guess is that if it was made mandatory for all sold in the US the price per unit would drop quite a bit. It would be challenging to figure out how to deal with existing/used cars, but I hardly see it as insurmountable. We could make the testing of the breathalizer/kill switch part of the bi-annual emissions program.

    I like the idea.

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  • money talks January 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    People use bail time to sell and put their stuff in storage. tie up loose ends, say good bye to family. etc. Its also cheaper to go to a lawyer then have them come to you.

    Breathalyzers could be implemented on company owned commercial vehicles. But will likely never be mandatory on consumer cars.

    As far as retrofitting breathalyzers onto old cars, who would pay for that? old cars are not required to have seat belts or airbags. Replacing millions of airbag equipped steering wheels with breathalyzer ones is financially insane.

    People making poor choices is a bigger problem, than the existence of those choices.

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  • GlowBoy January 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    "Well, we might as well extend this technology to drunk cycling." - middle of the road guy

    I'd agree with you if drunk cyclists killed 12,000 innocent Americans a year.

    But they don't. Drunk drivers do, however.

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  • S June 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    have to let all know...he is devastated from what happened. He is doing all he can to continue living with what he did and is NOT proud of it. Those of us who know him will tell you how horrible he feels. Nothing will change the situation, but he knows that he will have his consequences when the time comes.

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