OAG charges Banes with DUI, reckless driving


The Office of the Attorney General has filed a traffic case charging David George Banes with driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, and accidents.

Chief Prosecutor John Bradley said Monday that Banes will be arraigned this month.

As of press time yesterday, Saipan Tribune was still awaiting comments from Banes. When previously asked about the allegations surrounding his arrest, the 58-year-old lawyer said, “Not true at all.”

Assistant attorney general Erin Toolan stated in the charging information that, on March 9, 2020, on Saipan, Banes drove while under the influence. He allegedly had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher while driving a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” It said Banes failed to “obey traffic control devices or failed to keep a proper lookout or failed to maintain his lane of traffic or by a combination of these traffic violations.”

Toolan said that Banes hit a parked car but left the scene.

Last May, Bradley disclosed that the filing of the case was delayed because the Superior Court’s traffic docket was suspended in response to the COVID-19 orders. Bradley said the investigating officer was also delayed by COVID-19 duties.

Sources said Banes’ vehicle hit a car on Beach Road in Susupe. Police officers allegedly pulled over the lawyer’s vehicle by Joeten in Susupe. No one was injured in the incident.

Banes is the court-appointed counsel for Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig. The jury trial of Atalig and his girlfriend, Evelyn Atalig, on corruption charges, was supposed to start last March 10, but U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona postponed it for a week at that time due to Banes’ arrest.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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