Update: Suspect in GT Towing driver’s death out of jail

(Flowers and a flag decorate the victim’s truck at the GT yard on Harbor Avenue)
ORIGINAL 12:22 PM UPDATE: Four days after the hit-run crash on I-5 that killed a driver for West Seattle-based GT Towing (here’s our Friday report), the suspect will be released from jail, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Today is the deadline for either filing charges or releasing the 20-year-old suspect, and KCPAO spokesperson Dan Donohoe says the case hasn’t yet been referred to their office by the Washington State Patrol, so no charges will be filed today, which means the law requires the suspect be released. That does NOT mean charges aren’t possible at a future date, however. The suspect, a 20-year-old woman, is believed to have been at the wheel when hit and killed 51-year-old GT driver William Padilla of Burien, known as Tony according to comments in our original report. We checked with GT, and they don’t have word on memorial arrangements for Mr. Padilla yet – most of his family, they say, is out of state. King County Jail records, meantime, show the suspect was in jail less than 24 hours before the crash, on a failure-to-appear warrant from a previous hit-run case, and that this was her fifth stay in the jail since February; the other cases also included prostitution arrests. (Note: As of 4:26 pm, she is still in jail.)

7:11 PM UPDATE: Just checked the jail register. The suspect is out as of just minutes ago (6:58 pm). As per a link noted by JanS in comments, the State Patrol told the Seattle Times that the case will be referred tomorrow, that the investigator did not want to rush it and make a mistake.

30 Replies to "Update: Suspect in GT Towing driver's death out of jail"

  • cclarue September 28, 2010 (12:34 pm)

    Lovely!!!let her free to hurt someone else!!! Why on earth hasnt the case been referred to the King county prosecuting attorneys office!!!!!!!!!A man was killed and she has proven to be a flight risk !!! we really have some convoluded laws!!!!!! too many in the criminals favor if you ask me!!!!

    • WSB September 28, 2010 (12:44 pm)

      CC, I haven’t gotten comment from WSP yet but the initial reports suggested they weren’t sure who was driving, the 20-year-old woman or a man who also was in the car. That *may* be one of the impediments toward being able to move the case ahead quickly … TR

  • Adam September 28, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    So, how much money is the state going to pay in the lawsuit it loses when she kills another person driving drunk tonight?

  • WSC September 28, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    WTF. Makes the case for vigilanty thiking just a bit more understandable. How can the investigators not determine who was on the wheel? Is one occupant taller than the other and what of the position of the driver’s seat?
    Are both of their prints on the wheel?
    Where both outside the car when HP rolled up or just the loser taking a whiz on the side of the road?
    What about the dude in the car as an accessory? Cough up the truth or get pressured for some other stuff that sticks. How hard is this?
    What an injustice that this filth walks.

  • coffee September 28, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    Frickin scary! Sounds so much like the same case when the SPD was killed a few years ago on Cap Hill.

  • enviromaven September 28, 2010 (1:18 pm)

    I truly hope the WSP will be able to verify and charge the driver who is responsible for this tragedy. Weren’t there any witnesses? It sounds like the suspect’s history shows a pattern of serious disregard for the law–and for Mr. Padilla. Unthinkable!

  • JanS September 28, 2010 (1:21 pm)


  • Garden_nymph September 28, 2010 (1:39 pm)

    …”previous hit-run case,” …”fifth stay in the jail since February”… How many chances are we going to give her?! I am so very sorry for Mr. Padilla’s family. May they get the justice they deserve.

  • Cheryl September 28, 2010 (1:47 pm)


  • Baba September 28, 2010 (2:43 pm)

    I remember how much anger and disbelieve was on this blog about SPD’s first actions in Highland park teen beating case…Well, we all know the result.
    SPD knows what is THE BEST thing to do, according to the laws we have at the moment! Please, stop playing armchair detectives! Trust me, people at SPD that make this kind of decisions are not DUMB!

    • WSB September 28, 2010 (2:49 pm)

      Baba, this is a State Patrol case, not SPD. Just to be clear.

  • MB September 28, 2010 (2:59 pm)

    Maybe SPD/State Patrol in particular isn’t “dumb,” but apparently a few of our laws are. I don’t think people’s outrage about either case is truly about anger towards the cops themselves so much as towards the idea that these people are free to hurt others while the legal “kinks” are worked out (at least that’s how I feel). The cops are unfortunately just the scape goat. Hopefully she doesn’t drown her sorrow over being arrested in a bottle and then drive home…again…possibly killing someone else, potentially you or I or any of our children…

  • Baba September 28, 2010 (3:06 pm)

    …, people at WSP that make this kind of decisions are not DUMB either!

  • Baba September 28, 2010 (5:25 pm)

    Exactly, cops don’t write laws, they only try to enforce them.

  • star 55 September 28, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    Before you vote for your next judge check out their history, it tells quite a bit of information. Police make the arrests, judges and lawyers do the rest. Next time they talk about new jails keep in mind that people are let go everyday due to over crowding.

  • JanS September 28, 2010 (6:37 pm)

    according to this, if she is let out, her freedom will be shortlived, as charges WILL be filed on Wednesday 9/29, and she will be rearrested:


    • WSB September 28, 2010 (7:08 pm)

      Thanks, Jan, but whatever happens in the future, she’s out now – as of 6:58 pm tonight, according to the jail register- Tracy

  • Baba September 28, 2010 (7:31 pm)

    Jan, Tracy etc…
    I have no doubt that “someone” will be watching her closely till 9/29/10, so please, relax , this is just a legal formality that will get happily resolved. The person is dead, remember? (huge liability, that is…)

  • Fellow Citizen September 28, 2010 (7:36 pm)

    Ah yes, always the last word!

  • Irukandji September 28, 2010 (8:16 pm)

    Well, at least they didn’t let her out before happy hour!

  • redblack September 28, 2010 (8:24 pm)

    baba: how do you know she’s being tailed? *all* state agencies are facing manpower cutbacks due to budget shortfalls.
    i agree with star 55: this was a judge or magistrate’s call, and given the alleged perp’s priors, the court should have found a way – or an excuse – to keep her in the state’s custody.

  • Carole September 28, 2010 (9:46 pm)

    She wasn’t released because of a judge – the LAW says she can only be held for a specific time without charges. Whoever signed the release order was upholding the LAW. Let WSP do their investigation and build a case that will stick. Charging with incorrect or incomplete information can jeopardize a case.

  • E September 28, 2010 (10:03 pm)

    Is she dating Skyelar?

  • cj September 29, 2010 (3:17 am)

    If they let her go then there must be good reason.

    I get worried when talk and outrage get out of hand cause that’s when some well meaning people do really stupid things. I’m not going to assume anything.

  • TowTruckerSteve September 29, 2010 (7:03 am)

    Unfortunately, she’ll be out runnin around again, probably at the bar. I doubt she feels any emotion over what happened. I pray that karma comes swiftly for this #^%*@!!! And I think she needs to ride with a tow op, or someone in that field to get a feel of how dangerous our job is WITHOUT some stupid drunk bastard out there killin us!

  • km September 29, 2010 (7:40 am)

    There must have been some witnesses as the accounts reported of the incident are fairly detailed. I agree that the law is tricky but it feels to me that there was witness of this unfortunate event. Someone should have gotten a good look at the height/profile/hair of the driver. Who knows. I just really hope she doesn’t kill or injure again. So preventable.

  • Gforcetowing September 29, 2010 (11:09 am)

    G-force towing & recovery send our prayers and condolences out to brother tony’s family .. GT towing has lost a good man .. God speed .. The life we have as tow operator can turn deadly at any moment .. We face the same challenges daily in the Hawaiian islands !! Aloha & godbless. Wahiawa hawaii

  • Catherine September 30, 2010 (10:37 am)

    Thank you to everyone who has stated their support for my brother, Tony, and his family. As his sister I can tell you we are devastated.As people of faith, we know where Tony is and it gives us comfort.We are not vindictive and do not seek revenge,but there has to be justice. Everyone screws up and makes mistakes in life and we all deserve a second chance. Seems to me she has used up her second chances. 5 times in jail since feb? Get her off the road! Those tow operators are mommys and daddys! Those children need them!Lets not kill anymore of them by releasing these people. The court should have known if she can hit and run a parked vehicle its a small step to hitting a human being.

  • TowTruckerSteve October 3, 2010 (9:45 am)

    <<>> I’m so very sorry for your loss. Tony was a good man, one that the rest of us should look up too and follow in his footsteps. Alot of us (self included) never knew him, but I’ve heard quite alot about him in the past week or so. Our industry lost a good driver, the world has gotten a little darker and your family has suffered the most.

    My team and I have been waiting for word on his services. Things have been pretty quiet, my boss (Rich Steele) said he’d tell me when he heard something but he’s a very busy man. We’re also curious if there’s a survivor fund set up at all for his family.

    Duty calls so I’m cutting this short, but again, we at Dick’s Towing extend our condolences to you and your family in these hard times.

    • WSB October 3, 2010 (10:04 am)

      TTS, we asked at the GT office last week. The challenge was that apparently Tony’s family is mostly out of state. Also, he apparently did not have immediate family for which a survivor’s fund might traditionally be set up. Again, this is just what we learned during one visit, not necessarily the final official word, but we did ask. (ADDED) – Just pulled a websearch and found this:
      We’ll see what more we can find out about the October 9th memorial mentioned therein … TR

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