Driver in fatal crash smelled of alcohol, deputy reported
Prosecutors will await results of a toxicology screen before deciding whether to charge a woman who investigators say plowed through her Lake Sammamish house, killing her husband and son-in-law and critically injuring her daughter.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Investigators say a woman who drove her car through her Lake Sammamish house, killing her husband and son-in-law and critically injuring her daughter, smelled strongly of alcohol when she was questioned after the Friday evening crash, according to court documents.
In a statement of probable cause released by prosecutors on Tuesday, investigators with the King County Sheriff’s Office say the 68-year-old driver had gotten into her vehicle to move it, with her 3-year-old grandson seated on her lap. For reasons that are not yet known, the car plowed through her waterfront home, across a deck and into the water.
The deck’s guardrail caught the SUV and prevented it from plunging completely into the lake, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
The driver and her grandson were not injured and were able to get out of the vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The driver’s husband, David Walker, who was in the house, was struck and killed. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Walker died of blunt-force injuries.
The woman’s 34-year-old daughter and 40-year-old son-in-law — who are the parents of the 3-year-old — were on the deck when they were hit, police said.
Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries, police said.
On Sunday, the son-in-law, Sean Berry, died of head injuries, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
The daughter, Megan Berry, remained in critical condition.
The driver, who has no criminal history other than two traffic infractions, was arrested on Saturday on investigation of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. She was released the same day.
King County prosecutors are waiting for the results of the toxicology test, which could take several weeks, to determine whether to file criminal charges against the driver, according to spokesman Dan Donohoe.
The Seattle Times is not naming the woman because she has not been charged with a crime.
One neighbor, speaking to a reporter near the home on Friday, said the woman was trying to park her new Jeep Grand Cherokee when she tried to put the SUV in gear and it took off.
However, after the crash a responding deputy wrote that he smelled alcohol on the woman’s breath.
“While talking to her I could smell alcohol intoxicants on her breath (and she) made inconsistent statements about who was in the house at the time of the collision,” a deputy wrote in court documents.
The deputy wrote that the woman originally agreed to voluntarily submit to a Portable Breath Test, but later said she wanted to speak to a lawyer first.
The deputy said he drove her to the Lake Sammamish Police Department.
“The smell of alcohol intoxicants was very strong when I got her out of the car,” the deputy wrote in the affidavit. “I could continue to smell alcohol on her breath when she spoke.”
A sample of the woman’s blood was drawn after deputies obtained a search warrant, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Major Accident Response and Reconstruction unit continue to investigate the collision, including the possibility that a mechanical issue may have played a role in the crash, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. DB Gates.
Seattle Times news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report, which includes information from Times archives.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.