La Quinta Man Charged in Alleged Drunken Palm Desert Crash and Pursuit

La Quinta Man Charged in Alleged Drunken Palm Desert Crash and Pursuit

News Staff

A repeat DUI offender accused of crashing his pickup truck into an SUV in Palm Desert while under the influence, then leading sheriff’s deputies on a short pursuit, was charged Tuesday with hit-and-run causing injury, drunken driving and evading arrest.

“He bragged about how much money he has and how he would be posting bail within the hour.”

William Christopher Fryrear, 48, of La Quinta, has six previous DUI convictions in addition to the latest charges, which prompted the sheriff’s department to request that his bail be increased to $750,000, according to a declaration in support of increased bail.

“He bragged about how much money he has and how he would be posting bail within the hour,” according to the declaration written by Deputy Nicole Wilhite. “Fryrear has no regard for life and I believe if he is released from jail, he will drive under the influence and potentially seriously injur(e) or kill an innocent person.”

Fryrear is accused of crashing his Dodge pickup into a Nissan SUV just after 5 p.m. last Thursday near Monterey Avenue and Country Club Drive. When deputies arrived on scene, witnesses told them that the pickup driver had fled the scene, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Tijerina.

The truck was later spotted, but Fryrear allegedly sped away from deputies, who took him into custody about three miles southeast of the crash scene at Columbine Way and Lavender Drive, according to county jail records.

Fryrear was treated for minor injuries, then booked into the Riverside County jail in Indio. The SUV driver suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, Tijerina said.

Riverside County court records list one prior DUI in the county, to which he pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to four years probation. A criminal complaint also lists a prior DUI conviction out of San Bernardino County.

Fryrear, who pleaded not guilty to all counts this afternoon, is due back in court April 19 for a felony settlement conference.