A Seattle man who admitted to “driving like an idiot,” has been charged with vehicular homicide in a crash that killed a 58-year-old woman.
In Washington, a driver can be charged with vehicular homicide if, within three years of a vehicle crash, a person dies of injuries related to the incident, provided the suspect had been operating the vehicle:
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
- In a reckless manner; or
- With disregard for the safety of others.
Vehicular homicide is a Class A felony punishable by up to life in prison or a $50,000 fine, or both. An additional two years is added to the sentence for each prior offense involving alcohol or drugs.
The 36-year-old man is accused of causing a three-vehicle crash in Renton. The crash occurred at around 3:15 p.m. earlier this month. The police investigation found that the suspect sped through a red light in his four-door Pontiac Sunfire and T-boned a second sedan The woman driving was pronounced dead at the scene. The impact forced the victim's car into an SUV that also was waiting at the red light. The driver of the SUV and the suspect both suffered minor injuries.
At the scene, a police officer checked on the suspect who was still sitting in his car. He was conscious but dazed. Moments later, however, the suspect left his car. The officer spotted him walking away from the crash carrying a backpack.When the officer caught up to the suspect, he noticed the man struggled to maintain his balance and smelled of alcohol, so he was arrested. His bail was set at $750,000.
Police found a 22-ounce can of beer on the front, passenger-side floorboard of the suspect's car. When asked about the crash, the suspect told police he was “driving like an idiot” and had been drinking.
Investigators later learned that the suspect had been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in July for treatment of drug-induced psychosis. He had a history of methamphetamine and heroin use. He had been involved in numerous previous traffic incidents, he was investigated multiple times for driving on a suspended license and was investigated in 2008 for driving under the influence.
In Washington, person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle:
- And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood; or
- The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering ingredient found in the Cannabis plant) concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood; or
- While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug.
Regardless of the circumstances, everyone charged with a crime is entitled to a good defense. If you are facing criminal charges, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.