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Former Vancouver Mayor Hagensen escapes DUI conviction

He must finish alcohol treatment, stay out of trouble for 5 years

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published: October 26, 2016, 6:58pm

Former Vancouver Mayor Bruce Hagensen may have ducked a drunken-driving conviction if he completes a court-ordered alcohol abuse program and stays out of trouble for the next five years.

Hagensen, 72, was in Clark County District Court on Wednesday to confirm the deferred prosecution, where participants agree to undergo treatment and comply with other conditions in exchange for their charges being dismissed. The program can only be used once.

Shortly after 2:30 a.m. Nov. 24, Vancouver police were dispatched to the 1800 block of Broadway in Vancouver’s Arnada neighborhood for a report of an intoxicated man attempting to drive away in a silver Mitsubishi, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A witness saw a stumbling man, later identified by police as Hagensen, get into the car. Hagensen’s car rolled backward and then stopped. The witness took his car keys away to ensure he wouldn’t drive away, the affidavit said.

The responding officer found the Mitsubishi partially sticking out in the road with Hagensen holding onto the open driver’s door for balance. Hagensen admitted to driving his car, court records said.

The officer reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Hagensen would not listen to directions, the officer said, and appeared to be “highly intoxicated,” according to court documents.

His defense attorney, Steve Thayer, said Wednesday afternoon that Hagensen’s license will not be suspended.

Hagensen served as the city of Vancouver’s mayor from 1987 to 1995 after serving on the Vancouver City Council. He also was honored as a First Citizen in 1995. Hagensen is the former owner of the Vancouver Sign Company.

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