Jade West Cafe owner’s family seeks messages of sentence support

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Jimmy Wong visited his dad’s cafe in West Seattle tonight.

He taped a new note to the door of the Jade West Cafe, which has held update notes and get-well cards since Jimmy’s dad Wah, brother Jason and mom Salina were hit by a drunk driver outside their Beacon Hill home:

Jimmy’s note bears a simple request: The Wong family wants to hear from anyone who can write a note of support before the driver who hit the Wongs is sentenced on February 12th.

As reported here Friday, 50-year-old Rodney James has pleaded guilty to vehicular assault. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is recommending 2 1/2 years in prison; when the crash happened Dec. 12, James was on a suspended sentence from a prior case that started with a DUI arrest. Jimmy Wong – who is visiting from California, to help out at home – isn’t sure yet about the proper protocol for making sure the notes get full consideration. That’s why they’ve set up their own e-mail address – asking you just to send a quick note now if you are willing to write a message, and then they will let you know when they get official instructions – case number, address, etc.

Jimmy tells us his family is relieved that the driver pleaded guilty: “It helps us to move closer to closure – if he had pleaded not guilty, this might have gone on for months.”

But there’s no quick resolution for his dad and brother. Jason Wong lost a leg after the crash; his intact leg was injured as well, and Jimmy says it’ll be months before he can put weight on it, so he’s currently “immobilized,” though he’s home from the hospital now.

His dad? “Wah will be OK,” Jimmy smiles. He’s out of a skilled-nursing-care facility. But the restaurant’s future is far from settled.

Right now, it holds a note, and a request. Jimmy wants to get this word to all his dad’s customers, so please share this news: The address is jadewestcafe@gmail.com. Don’t send them the support statement yet- just write and say you’d like to. Do send that 1st e-mail fast – Jimmy says there’s not much time to get the messages to the right people, before James’s sentencing (1 pm 2/12, before King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector).

And in the meantime, he says the family is heartened and encouraged by all the support expressed in comments here, signatures on the get-well cards placed on the door, and in many other ways. “I’ve been away,” he says, for eight years, living in California, “I didn’t really realize” just how many lives his dad’s one-man labor of culinary love has touched.

Wells Fargo is accepting donations for the Save the Jade West Cafe Fund to help the family pay medical bills.

4 Replies to "Jade West Cafe owner's family seeks messages of sentence support"

  • grr February 1, 2010 (12:09 am)

    the Sentencing guidelines are put in place by the State…They need to be sorely revised. No where NEAR enough consideration for previous offenses. GRRRR.

  • Sasquatch February 1, 2010 (10:15 am)

    This offender permanently disabled a young man. He took away many future options for Jason. Will Rodney James have fewer opportunities after his potential 2 1/2 years in prison? I’m not sure.

  • grr February 1, 2010 (11:34 am)

    what bugs me even more than what I consider a ‘light’ sentence is that Mr. J is a 4 time repeat offender, yet the sentencing guidlines don’t really address that. Change needs to come from Olympia. Hopefully enough of us will send letters to the judge to enforce a stricter sentence (there is potential max of 10 years).

    I’ve watched Jasons interview on the KOMO website a number of times. What an amazing young man. The family should be immensly proud of him. He’s obviously aware that, as much as it SUCKS massivley to lose his leg and deal with what he has to deal with, he and his father are alive and not brain damaged or paralyized.

    and that does NOT even remotely change the fact the the person who did this to them should spend a VERY VERY VERY long time being punished for being simply too stupid to call a cab. I can’t even comprehend it.

  • Law Dog February 8, 2010 (10:18 pm)

    An insult to everyone involved that the prosecutors office was in such a hurry to male a deal that they are only asking for 2 1/2 years. That is criminal!

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