Conrad DUI case in court tomorrow

June 09, 2003 12:00 am

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Veteran actor Robert Conrad, who faces felony drunken driving charges, is scheduled to appear in Calaveras County Superior Court tomorrow morning for his second arraignment.

The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m.

Conrad, 68, failed to appear at his last hearing in early May. He was in a Santa Clara hospital, left partially paralyzed by the March 31 vehicle accident in Arnold that spurred the felony charges.

According to California Highway Patrol reports, Conrad — with residences in Murphys and Bear Valley — was driving west on Highway 4 near Arnold when his vehicle crossed the center line and struck an oncoming car, injuring Kevin Burnett of Forest Meadows. The CHP said Conrad was intoxicated and listed his injuries as "moderate."

Burnett was taken to Memorial Hospital in Modesto, where he had surgery for multiple fractures to his left leg.

Conrad was arrested at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto later that night on suspicion of drunken driving. He now faces two felony charges — one for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury, and another for driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 and causing injury.

Calaveras County District Attorney Jeff Tuttle has said Conrad's blood-alcohol level that night was .22 percent.

The legal limit is .08.

If convicted, Conrad could face from 90 days in the county jail to three years in state prison.

Conrad has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies, most prominently as James T. West in the 1960s series "The Wild Wild West," and fighter pilot squad commander Pappy Boyington in the 1970s series "Baa Baa Black Sheep."

Last month, at what was to be Conrad's court arraignment, Conrad's wife, Lavelda, said her husband had no use of his right arm and 40 percent use of his left arm.

She said he was confined to a wheelchair, but could take steps with assistance and had suffered other short-term memory loss.