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Originally published September 19, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Page modified September 20, 2013 at 8:04 AM

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Driver in high-speed I-405 crash charged with vehicular homicide

A Woodinville man accused of slamming into another motorist’s car on Interstate 405 in Bellevue while high on drugs last week has been charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A Woodinville man accused of slamming into another car on Interstate 405 in Bellevue while high on drugs last week has been charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving.

Samuel Sampson said he was “bored” on the night of Sept. 12, just before the collision, so he injected methamphetamine for the first time and used heroin, according to a statement he made to a State Patrol detective.

Sampson, 27, had been arguing with his wife that day, according to charging papers. The woman told investigators he choked and pushed her before stealing her cellphone and car keys, a State Patrol report said.

The woman managed to get out of their condominium, but when Sampson climbed into her Audi RS4 she got in the passenger seat. Once on I-405, Sampson started talking about “wanting them to die,” the report said.

Sampson unbuckled his wife’s seat belt and blocked her from putting it back on. The car then started rapidly accelerating and began to swerve, according to the account the woman gave investigators.

“I remember seeing 140 (mph) before it crashed,” Sampson told investigators.

Ian Riley Beckford, 22, was driving home to Federal Way from water-skiing on Lake Sammamish when the Audi slammed into the back of his BMW. Beckford’s car struck a Saturn, then stopped in the carpool lane and caught fire.

The BMW was engulfed in flames when Bellevue police arrived; Beckford, who was trapped inside, died at the scene.

Passengers in the two other vehicles struck in the melee were not seriously hurt, police said.

Prosecutors say Sampson faces nearly 11 years in prison if convicted. He has no known criminal history.

King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim said that Sampson, a New York native, moved to the area in May. On the day of the crash, he went to Sea-Tac airport with plans to return to New York, but, instead, had his wife pick him up.

Seattle attorney Eric Makus, who is representing the Beckford family, including parents Melinda and Fritz Beckford and 19-year-old Shane, a brother, said Thursday the family is grateful for the charges.

“The Beckford family is focused on remembering Ian. They are surviving the daily pain and overwhelming grief of their sudden, incomprehensible loss,” Makus said.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

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