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Artistic director booked for DUI

The artistic director for Nevada County’s critically-acclaimed Music in the Mountains was arrested for drunken driving after he crashed into an oncoming car on Ridge Road late last week.

Paul Clifford Perry, 69, of Nevada City, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol after he was treated for injuries he received in the accident, which occurred at 10:40 p.m. Thursday.

According to CHP Officer Earl Cummins, Perry was driving his 2002 Suzuki Vitara eastbound on Ridge Road when he crossed over the double yellow lines at a curve and hit a 1997 Toyota 4Runner driven by Christopher Towne, 50, of Nevada City.



Both vehicles were severely damaged and Towne’s air bag went off, Cummins said.

He said Perry received several facial lacerations, abrasions and head trauma. Towne did not report any injuries, Cummins said, and both men were wearing their seat belts.




“Alcohol is believed to be a determining factor in the accident,” Cummins said.

Cummins said a blood test was performed at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, where Perry was treated for his injuries. Cummins said he would not release the results of the test, which will be available in five to seven days.

After his release from the hospital, Perry was arrested and booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and having a blood alcohol level over 0.08, misdemeanor offenses.

He was released Friday morning on his own recognizance and given an order to appear in court at a later date, according to jail personnel.

On Monday, court personnel had no court date on file for Perry. Cummins said the charges against Perry would have been felonies if he had harmed another person in the accident.

Perry has no prior drunken driving offenses on his record, Cummins said.

Perry said Monday he was not drunk during Thursday’s accident, though he had some wine with dinner that night at a friend’s house in Nevada City.

“I think I hit black ice and the car went out of control,” Perry said. “The impact knocked me out and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital.”

He said he did not remember taking a blood test at the hospital, but he took a breathalyzer test at the jail.

“That test was a .05 (blood alcohol level),” he said. “They released me and I called a friend to come pick me up.”

According to the Music in the Mountains Web site, Perry has served as organist/choirmaster for churches throughout the Southern and Western United States, most recently at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley. He has been artistic director/conductor for Music in the Mountains’ festivals for 21 years, having been instrumental in the creation of Music in the Mountains in 1981.

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To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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