During the evening of Feb. 12, Hood River County Sheriff’s Deputies were assisting with traffic control on Interstate 84 after a landslide closed eastbound lanes at milepost 61.
At about 9:30 p.m., a deputy was diverting traffic at the bottom of exit 56, Viento State Park, when a vehicle passed his location. The deputy noted smoke inside the vehicle and a strong odor of marijuana. In the vehicle were two adults and an 8-month-old infant. The car was stopped and the pursuant investigation revealed over an ounce of marijuana and paraphernalia in the car.
The driver, 23-year-old Samantha Bentley, and passenger, 19-year-old David Rivera, both of Sunnyside, Wash., were arrested on the scene. Both adults were transported to Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles and lodged on charges of unlawful possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a minor. The child was taken into temporary protective custody.
While deputies were investigating the first offense, another deputy at the same location contacted a vehicle driven by 44-year-old Chad Sterling Nichols of Baudette, Minn. Also in the vehicle was Nichols’ wife, 45-year-old Denise Ann Nichols. The deputy noted a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The subsequent investigation led to the arrest of Chad Nichols for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Additionally, nearly 6 pounds of marijuana and 3 pounds of hashish were seized during the stop.
Chad Nichols was transported to NORCOR and lodged on charges of DUII, unlawful possession and delivery of marijuana as well as unlawful possession and delivery of hashish.
Denise Nichols was subsequently arrested and lodged at NORCOR on charges of unlawful possession and delivery of marijuana and unlawful possession and delivery of hashish.