Bail set at $1 million for man jailed after deadly Delridge crash

(WSB photo from Saturday night; pickup is behind tape in upper left, CR-V in foreground)
3:50 PM: Bail is set at $1 million for the Highland Park man jailed in connection with the deadly Saturday night crash at Delridge and Kenyon. That’s according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, which says the 43-year-old man admitted to police that he had been drinking earlier in the evening before taking the wheel of the Chevrolet pickup truck that rolled after colliding with a Honda CR-V. The victim was riding in the back of the pickup and died after being ejected during the crash. Probable-cause documents say the driver was behind the wheel despite having a license suspended for unpaid tickets, including one for violating an order to have an ignition interlock, and had been arrested for alleged DUI in Island County, with the charges eventually reduced. He is due back in court on Wednesday, which is the deadline for prosecutors to file charges. His record includes two days in the King County Jail this past February on a charge of domestic-violence assault.

ADDED TUESDAY: There have been a few questions about circumstances. Here is the entirety, transcribed, of the police-written narrative contained in the probable-cause documents (with names omitted); we’re likely to get something longer if charges are filed tomorrow:

I responded to a traffic collision in the 7900 block Delridge Way Southwest where one person had been killed as a result. I learned from one driver identified as [CR-V driver] he was driving east on SW Kenyon St. behind another vehicle and they both had a green signal in their favor. Another vehicle apparently being operated by [suspect’s name] was southbound, failed to stop for a red signal and they collided. [Officer] reported that the [suspect’s] vehicle rolled over and a person riding in the back was ejected and killed. [Suspect] was transported to Harborview Hospital and the officer guarding him received information from a Seattle Firefighter that [suspect] appeared to have been drinking alcohol. I secured a sample of [suspect’s] blood under authority of a search warrant. The results of the analysis are pending. I met with [suspect] and advised him of his constitutional rights. In response to my questions, [suspect] admitted to drinking alcohol earlier tonight and is a marijuana user but had not used any tonight. [Suspect] had no memory of the collision or what led up to it. According to Washington Department of Licensing (his) driver’s license is suspended 3rd degree for unpaid tickets, one of which is for a conviction of Ignition Interlock Restriction in Seattle Municipal Court. Also (he) has one DUI charge that was reduced to Negligent Driving 1st degree from Island County. While I spoke with (him), I detected foul breath but no odor of alcohol. His speech was slurred and thick tongued and eyes watery and bloodshot. He was also crying.

32 Replies to "Bail set at $1 million for man jailed after deadly Delridge crash"

  • E July 29, 2013 (4:01 pm)

    Sounds like a real winner.

  • Delridge Chick July 29, 2013 (4:10 pm)

    Hard to find words to put to this information…such a tragedy that could have been avoided. He has a huge burden (the life of a friend) that will be hard to live with.

  • YL July 29, 2013 (4:15 pm)

    My thoughts exactly, E.

  • West Seattle Hipster July 29, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    I hope Ronald Kessler is not the judge in the case.

    I hope the victim in this case files suit against the person who chose to drive drunk. I don’t anticipate the judicial system handling the case fairly.

  • Mitch July 29, 2013 (4:27 pm)

    West Seattle Hipster: How can the victim file a suit if he’s dead?

  • Alki Resident July 29, 2013 (4:59 pm)

    This proves one thing, you may never learn from your DUI’s until maybe you kill someone. This goes to prove also that tougher laws and penalties need to be in place. As many bars,taverns and restaurants that serve alcohol in West Seattle alone these days, this is going to happen again. How fast is this guys bail going to be lowered because of good behavior? I can see it now.

  • mookie July 29, 2013 (5:10 pm)

    “…unpaid tickets, including one for violating an order to have an ignition interlock…”
    THAT kind of slap on the wrist law has GOT to be changed. You have one (or more!) DUI on your record, and you are required to install an interlock device on your vehicle. If you don’t install one, your butt should end up in JAIL for some time. Not, just get issued a ticket. Anything less is enabling while people get killed.

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (5:18 pm)

      The site went down temporarily when I was attempting to add even more information about the suspect’s background. Dozens of cases in municipal court.

  • Lisa July 29, 2013 (5:16 pm)

    It’s been 2 days and I’m still haunted by the sound of that crash, and hearing one of the surviving male passengers screaming. I left some flowers at the sidewalk memorial yesterday; thinking of the man’s family.

  • ~~Hockeywitch~~ July 29, 2013 (5:44 pm)

    West Seattle Hipster: How can the victim file a suit if he’s dead?
    Comment by Mitch

    I’m guessing he’s talking about the man driving the other vehicle that was hit… and the family of the man killed, can file a wrongful death suit against the guy that was drinking and driving.. THAT’S how the dead man can file site against him

  • newnative July 29, 2013 (5:55 pm)

    Doesn’t look like the laws are at fault. It’s the criminal avoiding the consequences and the laws not being enforced.

  • Eric1 July 29, 2013 (6:37 pm)

    No license, no insurance, no money, so the driver of the CRV is out of luck unless he carries uninsured motorist. I always laugh at that bit of insurance policy. If insurance is mandatory, why do I need uninsured motorist policy?
    Ahh yes, judges like Mr. Kassler….. Weak politicians who put money ahead of safety. How much is this DUI going to cost society?

  • West Seattle Hipster July 29, 2013 (6:43 pm)

    Thanks for explaining that to Mitch, Hockeywitch, some folks clearly did not read the entire article.

    The deceased’s family can pursue a case also, but my sympathies lie with the sober driver in the CR-V.

  • WTF July 29, 2013 (6:47 pm)

    I’m asking in case someone knows the answer. If you are required by law to have an interlock placed on your vehicle. Who is supposed to install it? The criminal?

  • Kim July 29, 2013 (7:15 pm)

    Good question, WTF! Seems more appropriate that the car be impounded until the interlock is professionally installed.

  • sc July 29, 2013 (7:41 pm)

    what number is this now in the city for a driver who was supposed to have an ignition interlock installed, didn’t have it installed, and now someone is dead? There was the drunk driver who killed the 2 grandparents crossing the street in Wedgewood and I think there have been others in the news recently.

  • ~~Hockeywitch~~ July 29, 2013 (8:34 pm)

    Any time, West Seattle Hipster… any time :)
    My thought also go out to the driver of the other vehicle and to the family of the man who was killed.

    “”@ I’m asking in case someone knows the answer. If you are required by law to have an interlock placed on your vehicle. Who is supposed to install it? The criminal?
    Comment by WTF “””

    Typically, the offender must pay for the ignition interlock device installation. The installation costs around $50 to $200. This fee may be more if you have a luxury vehicle or if installation takes longer.

    In some states, there are certain circumstances in which the fees paid for a DUI conviction can be applied to the ignition interlock device installation.

    There is a monthly rental fee for the device. This fee ranges from $50 to $100. You will also be responsible for maintenance expenses as well as fees for downloading the data from the ignition interlock device.

  • resident July 29, 2013 (10:40 pm)

    This man has a lengthy history of alcohol related charges, and was brought before the court for a bail hearing, has achieved the age of majority, and yet he remains nameless. Why is this?

    Either he is the son of a prominent politician or, heaven forbid, he is of an inconvenient ethnicity or inconvenient citizenship status while the country debates immigration reform. Not a dig at WSB, the King County prosecutor seems uninterested in naming this individual on a webpage that calls out 3 other (white, male) defendants by name. Funny that.

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (11:45 pm)

      Resident, everybody else mentioned on the King County PAO page right now has been charged. This guy hasn’t. Two of the three are awaiting sentencing, so they’ve either been convicted or pleaded guilty. Anyway, it’s our standard not to identify people until they have been charged, which will likely be sometime Wednesday, and the standard of most other responsible news organizations. The briefs on the KCPAO page don’t usually mention names until charges are filed, either. – TR

  • nop July 29, 2013 (11:08 pm)

    Guys stop your pals from driving drunk and pay for a cab. Seriously I lost my best friend this weekend after he was ejected from his car with no seatbelt.

  • Jim July 29, 2013 (11:14 pm)

    Has anyone wondered if the driver of the CRV was at fault because he wandered into the right-of-way of the pick-up truck? Sure seems that way given the left-turn he was making from Kenyon to Delridge.

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (11:48 pm)

      Jim, according to the probable-cause document, police say the CR-V driver and another vehicle were headed east on Kenyon with “a green signal in their favor” while the pickup “was southbound, failed to stop for a red signal” and the collision resulted. – TR

  • Matt July 30, 2013 (7:11 am)

    Wow, I am speechless on this guy’s record. I’m really glad he didn’t kill me or one of my Family members.

  • dhg July 30, 2013 (7:26 am)

    Resident: stop watching Fox, it’s warping your sense of reality to the point you don’t know the world. You think WSB is part of a conspiracy to hide the malfeasance of illegal immigrants? They work hard to report the world as it is, not as someone might like it to be. Your comments reveal a profound lack of understanding the world.

  • Delridge Chick July 30, 2013 (8:34 am)

    Jim, if you had been there and spoken with the man of the CRV/witnessed his demeanor, you would not even think that. He was shaken up/in a daze as he exited his vehicle (as in “what just happened?”) but remained very composed and calm as he waited on the sidewalk to speak with police, even given the resulting situation. There is a stop light on Kenyon/Delridge leading out from our apartment complex, in which he was sitting at, waiting for the light to turn green–and proceeded into the intersection on the green light. He was on his way to pick his wife up from somewhere when this happened. Grateful he came out virtually unharmed.

  • WSB July 30, 2013 (8:41 am)

    The pickup was the OTHER VEHICLE. Chevrolet pickup. Not shown in photo, as explained in caption. The CR-V, as I noted in a comment above, had the green light; the truck is reported to have run a red light.

  • enough July 30, 2013 (9:28 am)

    Time to lock this guy up and throw away the key.

  • mehud July 30, 2013 (10:10 am)

    WSB and Delridge Chick– In defense of Jim, I was wondering about who had the green light also. No where in your stories can I find information about the lights. Thank you for clarifying in the comments though.

    • WSB July 30, 2013 (10:51 am)

      Unfortunately, my updating on this story when the information came out yesterday was cut short by the fact our site inexplicably went down for a while in the 4:30-5 pm vicinity, and when that happens, it requires a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth on our end as we try to find out why it happened, who’s responsible, how soon can it be fixed, how can we make sure it doesn’t happen again, etc. Enough trauma ensued that I moved on to other things and forgot to go back to add the transcription of the relatively short narrative from the court docs, which I am doing now – TR

  • Jim July 31, 2013 (12:20 am)

    Thank you for sharing additional information that illuminates the question I was wondering about.

  • eyeye July 31, 2013 (8:03 am)

    I’d like to see “License Revoked For Life” in our criminal courts. No, it will not prevent everyone from driving, but I am certain it will deliver a clear message to those that might drive drunk.

  • SeaChanty51 July 31, 2013 (5:10 pm)

    First DUI should be an interlock device for life. Second, license lost for life and forfeiture of ALL vehicles. Anyone loaning a vehicle to a DUI driver also forfeits. Do not leave them anything to drive!

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