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Saturday, June 17, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Abstinence critic accused of DUI in fatal I-90 crash

Seattle Times staff reporters

The founder of a national movement that says problem drinkers can drink in moderation is accused of being drunk when the pickup she was driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 near Cle Elum crashed head-on into a second vehicle, killing a man and his 12-year-old daughter.

Audrey Kishline, 43, of Woodinville has been charged by the Kittitas County Prosecutor's office with two counts of vehicular homicide in the March 25 crash that killed a Grandview, Yakima County, man, Richard Davis, and his daughter, LaSchell.

Kishline, author of the book "Moderate Drinking," had a blood alcohol content of 0.26, more than three times the legal limit in Washington.

According to literature from Moderation Management, two of the group's tenets are "never drive while under the influence of alcohol" and "do not drink in a situation that would endanger yourself or others."

The accident and the subsequent intensive alcohol treatment she has undergone have made Kishline realize that "moderation management is nothing but alcoholics covering up their problem," her Seattle lawyer, John Crowley, said yesterday.

Crowley said his client is "extremely remorseful" and carries the photos of the two victims with her. Kishline is receiving substance-abuse treatment at a facility in Western Oregon.

Crowley declined to say where his client was receiving treatment.

Kishline is accused of driving "while under the influence of intoxicating liquor," according to Kittitas County Deputy Prosecutor Margaret Sowards.

Davis, 38, an electrician who worked in Bellevue, was killed outright in the 6 p.m. crash. His daughter died a short time later at the crash scene 16 miles west of Cle Elum, according to the State Patrol.

Kishline also was charged with hit-and-run driving, accused of forcing another vehicle off the interstate before the fatal crash, Sowards said.

Kishline, who was driving west in the eastbound lanes, suffered facial and chest injuries and was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she was hospitalized for five days, according to hospital records.

Kishline's trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday in Kittitas County Superior Court, but yesterday Crowley requested and was granted a continuance until late September, Sowards said.

At Kishline's arraignment after her release from the hospital, prosecutors requested $100,000 bail. It was reduced to $50,000 on the condition she immediately enter an alcohol-treatment program in Oregon, Sowards said.

Crowley said Kishline had checked herself into the treatment facility before her April 19 arraignment. She will continue to receive treatment there until July 8, he said.

The program offers intensive in-patient treatment and includes individual and group therapy, he said.

Sheryl Maloy-Davis of Grandview, LaSchell's mother and Davis' ex-wife, said her daughter was killed 10 days after her 12th birthday.

She said she hasn't had the heart to finish cleaning LaSchell's bedroom, which has remnants of the birthday party.

"Every time I go in there, I cry. She's not there anymore, and she never will be," Maloy-Davis said.

Richard Davis, or Danny as he was known, and LaSchell were returning to Grandview from Bellevue when the crash occurred, she said.

"I think this should open everyone's eyes about drunk driving. They should take it very, very seriously," Maloy-Davis said. "Danny and LaSchell had a lot to live for that they will never get to do now."

Crowley said Kishline plans to write more on the subject of drinking if she goes to prison - but this time the writing will deal with how moderation is not an option for people with serious drinking problems.

"She doesn't feel sorry for herself," Crowley added, saying her thoughts instead are with the two victims and her own two children.

Kishline's book, subtitled "The Moderation Management Guide for People Who Want to Reduce Their Drinking," is not for alcoholics but for problem drinkers who have experienced mild to moderate alcohol-related problems, according to a Web site associated with the book.

The book, published in 1994 by Three Rivers Press, says it is the official handbook of the nonprofit, national self-help program, Moderation Management, which "supports moderate drinking as a reasonable and attainable recovery goal for problem drinkers," according to an advertisement for the book.

It continues: "Based on her own unsatisfactory experience with abstinence-based programs, Kishline offers inspiration and a step-by-step program to help individuals avoid the kind of drinking that detrimentally affects their lives."

Moderation Management, also called MM, says it essentially offers a supportive atmosphere and a nine-step program that include drinking guidelines and limits and free literature.

One of the first steps in the program is abstinence from alcohol for 30 days, then moderate drinking and attending the supportive meetings.

The book's guidelines say men should not have more than four drinks per day, and women not more than three a day. A drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Moderation Management support groups have been established in 14 states, including Washington, and in Ontario, Canada.

Kishline's accident has done nothing to erode support for the program, said one devotee.

"It doesn't discount anything that's in the book," said Jennifer Newman of New Jersey. "I have been in the program for over two years and my entire life has improved beyond belief."

"The feeling of the group is that moderation management is working. We all want Audrey to recover and we wish her the best."

The group made headlines two years ago when a 29-year-old computer programmer confessed on an Internet chat room associated with the group that he had killed his 5-year-old daughter three years earlier in a custody battle with his ex-wife. The man later pleaded guilty in the child's death.

Anne Koch's phone message number is 206-464-3303. Her e-mail address is akoch@seattletimes.com

Dave Birkland's phone message number is 206-515-5682. His e-mail address is dbirkland@seattletimes.com

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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