SEATTLE — A Snohomish County judge was sentenced to a day in jail Wednesday for driving drunk Aug. 26, a trip that ended when her car spun out, struck a concrete barrier and came to rest facing oncoming traffic along I-405.
Marybeth Dingledy, 48, of Mill Creek, apologized during a brief hearing in King County District Court.
“I’m very sorry this incident occurred,” she said. “It has and will continue to have an impact on me.”
Dingledy has served as a Snohomish County Superior Court judge since 2012. She pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to driving under the influence.
King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman said he was impressed that Dingledy had moved swiftly to address the consequences of her impaired driving.
“I can appreciate the position you find yourself in given the work you do,” he said.
Tests showed Dingledy’s blood-alcohol level at 0.122 and 0.115 at the time of arrest, according to police reports. It is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.
No one was injured in the accident.
According to Dingledy’s attorney Anna Goykhman, it occurred when the judge swerved in her Toyota MR2 to avoid another vehicle that cut her off. The incident occurred near Bothell. Dingledy had been wine tasting with a friend earlier in Woodinville.
After the crash, the judge called 911, remained at the scene, and was placed under arrest for investigation of drunken driving, court papers show. A Washington State Patrol trooper noticed signs of intoxication.
The trooper did not learn that Dingledy was a judge until she was being booked. A check of a bag that she’d asked be removed from her car turned up her judge’s robe.
Dingledy already had installed an ignition interlock in her car, a condition of her sentence, prior to Wednesday’s hearing. She also attended a panel where she listened to stories from people whose lives had been changed because of an impaired driver.
She was fined $5,000, with $4,650 suspended and ordered to be on probation for 36 months. The full amount of the fine could be imposed if she reoffends. Any violations of her probation could carry up to 30 days in jail, Chapman said.
“She certainly won’t be back in front of you again,” Goykhman told the judge. It is what Dingledy does going forward that matters, she said.
The sentence was in keeping with the recommendation made by King County prosecutors.
Dingledy was appointed to the bench five years ago by then-Gov. Chris Gregoire. She was elected in 2016 after facing no challenger. Prior to becoming a judge, she worked in King County as a deputy prosecutor, and for 16 years as a public defender in Snohomish County.
She is known as a fair and thorough judge and has attracted attention out of the courtroom for her passion for mountaineering and backpacking.
In 2016 the State Patrol pulled over and arrested roughly 13,000 drivers for DUI. State data show impaired driving was a contributing factor in six of every 10 traffic fatalities in Washington.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.