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Man who drove into mall doors charged with DUI; level of intoxication still unknown

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Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012 12:09 am | Updated: 11:36 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — It’s still not clear what condition an 18-year-old man was in when he tried to drive a truck through Bentley Mall on Thursday night.

Fairbanks police described him as a heavily intoxicated man who had both dried mushrooms and marijuana in his vehicle. He told police he smoked the pot but had not taken the mushrooms, which he described as “dissociative,” according to the criminal complaint against him.

Bail was set at $10,000 for Joseph Wilson at his arraignment Friday afternoon. He initially told Magistrate Kirk Schwalm he did not need an attorney but later smiled and changed his mind when Schwalm explained the severity of the charges against him. Wilson has no criminal record, Assistant District Attorney Gayle Garrigues said.

Wilson is charged with driving under the influence, felony criminal mischief and felony assault, the last charge based on the allegation that he frightened people in the mall. Police estimated he did more than $5,000 in damage to the mall entrance.

Wilson had bloodshot watery eyes, along with body and eyelid tremors that seemed to get less severe while police were talking to him about

6 p.m. Thursday, according to the complaint against him.

He registered a breath-alcohol content of 0.000 and told police he had not been drinking, taking prescription medications or inhalants. He said he had smoked marijuana before he got to the mall but had not taken the dried mushrooms. He said the mushrooms were a kind that could get you “really high,” police said. He was not initially charged with any drug offenses.

Wilson told police he was trying to drive through the mall. Asked why he thought that was a good idea, he said it never was a good idea, adding, “I’m just like ... going a little crazy, I believe,” police said.

The crash occurred at a low speed, well less than 20 mph, Fairbanks police Sgt. Gary Yamamoto said. Neither Wilson nor any of the people in the mall were hurt in the crash.

A video of the crash posted on YouTube came from a security camera inside the mall, said Lt. Jim Geier, who was not personally familiar with the case but who had access to the police report.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.

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