West was convicted in Maricopa County Superior Court on January 22 of extreme DUI and failing to obey police commands, records show. He was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and nine days behind bars, which he began serving on January 23, according to court documents filed on January 30.
New Times previously wrote about West in August 2017, after video surveillance tape raised questions about the completeness of his report on vandalism of the State Capitol's Confederate memorial. West deleted his Facebook page following that article, but later put it back up, continuing to post his broadcast pieces at the news station.
West's Facebook page is gone again, and so is his Twitter account.
West works — or worked — for TEGNA, the parent company of Channel 12 (KPNX-TV). The status of his employment there is unclear: Channel 12's newsroom staff wouldn't say if he still works there, and directed Phoenix New Times to leave messages — unreturned as of press time — with administrators. West is no longer listed in Channel 12's "Meet the Team" online staff roster, and messages bounced back from his work email address.
For sure, West's dangerous antics on the rainy evening of August 8, 2018, three days after his 30th birthday, weaken his credibility as a journalist. It's unclear what led up to the incident, but for police, it began when a manager and worker at the McDonald's at Seventh Avenue and Van Buren Street reported a man in the drive-through who had rammed a car, and was cursing and threatening them while refusing to leave. West was drunk and "stunk of beer," they reported in court documents.
"Police! Come here! Stop!" they yelled.
The TV reporter's face flashed a look of surprise. He rolled up his window and sped out of the parking lot. "He gunned the engine and failed to stop" for a stop sign at Sixth Avenue and Van Buren, the cops reported. Then he sped down Sixth Avenue at about 50 mph, twice the 25 mph residential speed limit.
"Driving all over the road," West swerved back and forth, almost hitting parked cars on both sides of the street. He pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex at 601 West Fillmore Street, and in doing so, he nearly hit a woman on a bicycle and a car that was backing up.
The officers on his tail walked up to his car after he parked. West "jumped out of the driver seat" when an officer grabbed his arm. At first he wouldn't speak. "Moments later he began crying, then he got mad at me saying I was ruining his life. Then he would start sobbing again. Severe mood swings," records state.
At one point, he "blurted" acknowledgment that he nearly ran into the woman on the bike.
West blew a .239 BAC in a preliminary breath test before being booked into jail, according to police.
In spite of his high profile, the West bust received little media attention at the time. FTV Live (The News About TV News), and YourValley.net produced articles about it, and Channel 12 ran an 18-second blurb (below) on its news broadcast later that night, briefly reporting "in the interest of transparency" on West's arrest.
He was later indicted by a grand jury on five counts related to the incident, including four DUI counts. His plea deal, which was finalized on Wednesday, called for dropping three of the charges.
Besides the immediate jail time, West was sentenced to an additional 21 days in jail, with the stipulation that they would be dropped if he completed all the terms of his probation. West agreed to keep off booze during the two-year probation term, to participate on the MADD Victim Impact Panel, and to pay nearly $3,000 in penalties. He self-surrendered at the Durango Jail on January 23 to begin his nine-day jail term. He requested to be put on work release in the daytime, but records don't indicate if the motion was ever approved.
West was unavailable for comment on Thursday, and his cellphone would not take new messages.