Salem police sergeant’s DUI trial set for August

A Salem police sergeant accused of driving under the influence of intoxicants is slated to face trial in August for the criminal charge.

The charge alleges that Sgt. Dustin W. Wann, 44, drove drunk in west Salem near the Salemtowne Golf Club during Memorial Day weekend. Wann has pleaded not guilty.

At a hearing Friday, Polk County Circuit Judge Rafael Caso set a trial for Aug. 7.

At the hearing, Wann also sought and was given a judge’s approval to travel out of state on vacation later this month. His release agreement bars him from doing so without the judge’s permission.

Wann went on paid administrative leave from his police job three days after the collision and remains in that status, according to Angela Hedrick, spokeswoman for the Salem Police Department. The sergeant is paid about $144,000 annually.

Authorities have refused to confirm whether Wann was involved in a golf cart collision that same day at the club which left a Salem woman with head injuries.

Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton recently declined to release a police report about the golf cart incident because it is related to the drunk driving case that is pending.

The Oregon State Police took over the investigation but the agency and Salem police declined to release their reports. Salem police also declined to release their reports on the golf cart episode.

Wann’s attorney, Julio Vidrio, asked that the sergeant’s trial be scheduled for August. 

“I know it’s a little ways out, but I’ve got a number of arbitrations and a trial coming up,” Vidrio said.

Caso, the Polk County judge, sounded surprised by the question.

“In August?,” he asked, before pausing for several seconds. “You’re not pulling my chain with August? 

“Oh, yeah. I know it’s out there,” Vidrio replied.

“I don’t think I even have anything scheduled in August,” the judge said, before asking if the prosecutor objected to the delay.

“My calendar is blank in August at this point,” said Alicia Eagan, a Polk County deputy district attorney.

Vidrio, the sergeant’s attorney, is employed by the Thenell Law Group, which has represented police officers during use-of-force investigations, internal affairs investigations and labor negotiations, according to its website.

The crash that triggered the drunk driving investigation occurred around 10:30 p.m. on May 27, 2023, at the intersection of Northwest Brookside and Vick Avenues, near the Salemtowne neighborhood.

He was cited by the state police six months later, charged with driving under the influence. That is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and fine of up to $6,250.

This is the second time Wann has been accused of drunken driving while working for Salem police.

In 2013, he was charged in Washington County Circuit Court with driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty but the charge was dropped when he completed requirements for diversion.


Authorities staying silent on Salem police sergeant’s DUI charge

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.