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FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks assistant district attorney has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence of drugs after being arrested twice within a week.
David A. Carlson, 43, who has worked as an assistant DA for about 2½ years, entered the pleas to the two DUI counts on Monday during his arraignment in Fairbanks District Court. He posted $11,000 bail and was released from the Fairbanks Correctional Center on Monday afternoon.
Carlson's attorney, Tom Temple, declined comment, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Court documents allege Carlson was under the influence of prescription drugs both times he was picked up.
The first arrest was Feb. 15 after he went into a ditch while attempting to drive his truck around an Alaska State Trooper vehicle parked at the scene of an accident. The second was Sunday, when witnesses told Fairbanks police that Carlson ran a red light and collided with a car turning onto the Johansen Expressway. A passenger in the other car was treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for minor injuries to her legs.
A police officer investigating the Sunday accident called in a drug recognition expert to interview Carlson after suspecting he was under the influence of drugs. Court documents state the officer asked Carlson if he had taken any medication and Carlson said he had taken Adavan, a drug used to treat anxiety, about four hours earlier. Carlson failed three field sobriety tests but registered a breath-alcohol content of 0.00 percent.
In the Feb. 15 incident, Carlson told a trooper he had had three or four drinks before driving, according to court documents. The trooper also noticed a prescription bottle of Lorazapam, another anti-anxiety drug, in Carlson's truck, and Carlson said he used those pills.
Carlson failed field sobriety tests and registered a breath-alcohol content of 0.07 percent on a chemical breath test, just under the legal limit of 0.08.
Juneau Assistant Attorney General David Brower, who represented the state because of Carlson's ties to the Fairbanks district attorney's office, said the first DUI charge against Carlson was mistakenly not filed last week. Prosecutors were debating when to refile it when Carlson was involved in Sunday's accident, he said. Both DUI charges were filed Monday.