Image source: KING5 News
It began with a carjacking: three suspects held up a man at gunpoint on South State Street in Seattle. They fled in their victim’s 2002 Honda Accord. A call was placed to police to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle; an officer spotted it at 2 a.m. in West Seattle. When that officer turned on her emergency lights and tried to pull the vehicle over, the thief behind the wheel sped off.
At the 6800 block of Highland Park Way SW, the stolen Honda slammed into another car. Police officers responding to the scene called for medics and attempted life-saving aid, but both drivers died at the scene.
No information has been released on the status of the other carjackers who helped the driver steal the Honda. Police reports released to the public do not say whether or not they were in the car at the time of the crash.
Legal questions after another fatal crash
This is far from the first time that a criminal has caused a fatal crash while fleeing from police in Western Washington. This March, a pedestrian walking near the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn was struck and killed by an SUV driver fleeing from police. The police officer who had turned on his patrol car’s lights was en route to a different scene and was not expecting the car in front of him to speed off.
In 2010, Davis Law Group handled a case in which an unsupervised felon slammed into a bystander’s car, killing Douglas Simmons III and severely injuring Holly Mattson. In that case, the Department of Corrections was found to have failed to supervise the felon who fled; she had recently violated the terms of her probation and should have been apprehended long before the fatal crash.
Seattle Police are still investigating the facts of the accident and have not yet released the at fault driver’s name. Questions that an investigator into the facts of this case may have to answer include:
- Was a government agency supposed to be supervising any of the carjackers when the crime took place? Davis Law Group has uncovered other instances of parole violations being handled improperly. In a major case, the Washington State Department of Corrections released an estimated 3,200 prisoners from jail too early, resulting in two known deaths caused by felons who should have been behind bars at the time.
- Did the officer who tried to pull the stolen vehicle over follow proper procedure? In some areas of Washington State, police departments are trying to discourage taking part in high-speed chases, since they often result in fatal consequences.