UA Fairbanks priest charged with DUI

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A Roman Catholic priest who serves the University of Alaska Fairbanks was spotted driving into the oncoming lane of the Parks Highway and charged with driving under the influence, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Father Sean P. Thomson, 52, is also charged with misdemeanor weapons and drug counts, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Thomson remains a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks, said Ronnie Rosenberg, legal coordinator and director of human resources for the diocese. Thomson has been placed on administrative leave, Rosenberg said. The diocese of Fairbanks will replace Thomson with other priests and lay staff on campus during Thomson’s suspension.

Thomson pleaded not guilty at arraignment. He is free on $5,000 bail.

According to a criminal complaint, a trooper on Monday stopped Thomson at Mile 228 Parks Highway near McKinley Village about 134 miles south of Fairbanks.

The complaint filed by Trooper Christopher Bitz said the officer noticed a blue pickup speeding at 79 mph in a 65-mph zone. The truck was weaving and had crossed the centerline, Bitz said.

Bitz said Thomson seemed disoriented. The officer asked for his vehicle registration and Thomson instead handed him a receipt.

Bitz asked if he was carrying any weapons, the complaint said. Thomson reported a .357-caliber handgun in the back seat but not a 9mm pistol he carried in his back pocket, Bitz said. Another pocket revealed a bag with a small quantity of marijuana, Bitz said.

Thomson blew into a hand-held breath alcohol test machine and it recorded a breath-alcohol content of .247 percent, Bitz said. The legal standard for intoxication is .08 percent.

At the Healy trooper post, Thomson refused to take a second breath analysis test with equipment considered to be more accurate because, “(he) said he was drunk and did not feel the test was necessary,” Bitz wrote.

Thomson was charged with DUI, refusal to take a chemical alcohol test and drugs misconduct. He also was charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated and failing to immediately inform troopers he was carrying a firearm.

Thomson is scheduled for a court appearance April 27 at the Nenana courthouse.

More in Local News

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Police: He made an appointment, then tried to rob the bank

A lawyer is accused of donning a fake beard and telling a teller that a gunman was outside.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Inslee’s budget solves school funding with help from carbon

His budget would use reserves to boost education, then replenish them with a carbon tax or fee.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

Most Read