King County prosecutors on Monday charged a 50-year-old woman from Burien with one count of vehicular homicide for her role in a fatal pedestrian accident in White Center earlier this year.
According to The Seattle Times, prosecutors formally filed the vehicular homicide charge against 50-year-old Jamie Starr Larson of Burien, who was driving the vehicle that struck and killed 55-year-old Rebecca Delgado in early April. Court documents show a warrant was immediately issued for Larson’s arrest.
Driver Was Celebrating 50th Birthday
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim says Larson had just turned 50 years old on March 31st and “celebrated by drinking alcohol for the next two days,” according to charging documents. Despite not having a valid driver’s license, Larson told investigators that she thought she was sober enough to drive at the time.
Delgado and her husband had recently left work and were walking home at approximately 4:40 p.m. when they stopped at a crosswalk near the intersection of Southwest 104th Street and 16th Avenue Southwest in White Center. A driver in the inside lane stopped and waited for the couple to cross in the crosswalk, but Larson changed to the outside lane and struck Delgado just as she passed in front of the stopped vehicle.
Delgado’s husband was crossing with his wife and watched as the vehicle crashed into her. She was immediately rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she was in intensive care. Delgado died from her injuries after eight days at Harborview, according to the Times.
Legal Implications from Criminal Charges
Larson spent three days in the King County jail immediately after the crash, though she was released on bail on April 5th. The fact that it took prosecutors more than six months to formally file criminal charges against Larson may be confusing to some, and also likely resulted in a significant amount of stress and anxiety for the victim’s family and loved ones.
Although there have been no definitive statements explaining the exact reason behind the delay, it’s likely that charges were pending the results of Larson’s toxicology tests. Prosecutors will typically wait until there is concrete evidence – in this case, in the form of a blood alcohol analysis – to prove that a person is guilty of driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.
What this means for the victim’s surviving family and loved ones is that liability for Delgado’s death is likely to be much clearer after the criminal charges are filed. That can make a big difference in the potential chances of a successful wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company.
Now that there has been a significant development in the case, it would be in the best interests of the victim’s family to seek legal representation for a wrongful death claim. While some cases can be handled without an attorney, the many complexities of wrongful death cases often require the expertise of a qualified lawyer with experience representing victims of fatal accidents and their loved ones.