Tahoe man arraigned after fatal car wreck | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe man arraigned after fatal car wreck

William Ferchland

A 42-year-old plumber was accused Monday of driving under the influence of methamphetamine in an Emerald Bay Road crash that killed a Bay Area woman.

Tracy Rippetoe, from South Lake Tahoe, faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted of being under the influence when his 1983 Ford F-250 truck collided with Kimberly White’s 1985 Mercedes earlier this month. White died at the scene and Jennifer Urbanski, White’s sister, suffered internal injuries.

A 1997 conviction for making threats in Trinity County could be used against Rippetoe and would double his years behind bars, said El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe.

A search warrant delivered last week found a quarter ounce of meth in Rippetoe’s possession, Uthe said. Rippetoe is also charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale.

When authorities went to arrest Rippetoe on Friday morning, they suspected he was under the influence of drugs. Another count for driving under the influence was added.

Rippetoe asked for a public defender during an arraignment Monday in El Dorado County Superior Court. He also asked Judge Jerald Lasarow if he could be released on his own recognizance. Lasarow stuck down Rippetoe’s request, saying the charges were too serious.

A bail review and preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 5. Lasarow kept Rippetoe’s bail at $250,000.

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