The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Hit & Run: woman charged after leaving the scene

Jennifer Werder charged with drug DUI after pinning victim with SUV


Valdez woman Jennifer Werder spent three days in jail last week after she backed a blue Dodge Durango into a parked truck a week ago Monday, striking a woman who was talking to the truck’s driver. Werder then drove away from the scene in front of South Central Hardware on Meals Avenue.

“I was very lucky,” said Karla Allen, who was treated at the hospital and later released after receiving treatment for unspecified injuries after the incident.

Allen said she was talking to Todd Blinman, who was sitting in his truck on Meals Avenue, after he’d stopped the truck to chat when they noticed the Durango’s back up lights were getting too close for comfort.

“I must have just taken a step at the right moment,” Allen said. If she hadn’t moved out of the way when she did “my knee would have been crunched.”

The Durango also made contact with the truck, smashing in one of its doors before fleeing the scene.

“It was flipping weird,” Allen said of the moments after the incident. “I was a little shocked,” and very upset.

The store’s manager, Myrna Plath, called police at 3:30 p.m. to report the accident and named Werder as the suspect driver according to charging documents.

Sgt. Kalin King of the Valdez Police Dept. responded to the scene and shortly thereafter to head towards the Werder residence up the highway.

“Allen stated that the Durango immediately drove away from the scene, heading outbound on Egan,” King said in an affidavit filed in Valdez Court February 1. “Blinman’s statement mirrored Allen’s.”

King spotted Werder, aged 42, near her residence and contacted her when she got out of the Durango.

“All Jennifer knew is when she looked back the lady was right there,” King’s affidavit said.

Werder claimed she asked Allen if she was okay and Allen said yes before Werder left the scene charging documents say. She also told police it is possible the victim had not heard her.

“…Jennifer stated that she had drank one beer just before going to South Central Hardwar,” the affidavit said. “She estimated…she had taken a valium and a hydrocodone. She also stated that she has smoked some marijuana.”

Police say Werder performed poorly on a three standardized field sobriety tests, had a slight odor of alcohol about her person, watery eyes and showed poor balance.

She was charged with DUI, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

In Valdez Court the following day, Werder pleaded “no contest” to all three charges. A no contest plea means Werder would not fight the charges against her. In court, a no contest plea is treated the same as a plea of guilty.

According to court documents, Werder was ordered to serve five days of a 90 day sentence for the charge of driving under the influence, and three days of a 30 day sentence for reckless driving. A 60 day sentence for leaving the scene of the accident was suspended in full. Judge Dan Schally also ordered Werder’s drivers license be suspended for 90 days for the DUI charge, which will run concurrently – meaning at the same time – as a 30 day suspension he imposed for the other two charges.

She was also fined $1880 plus an as-of-yet undetermined amount of restitution.


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