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Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013, 4:41 p.m.

Chinese student posts $2M bail on fatal crash charges

SEATTLE — The family of a Chinese international student who faces a vehicular-homicide charge has posted the $2 million bail to free him from custody, presenting a cashier’s check in what authorities said was a rare occurrence.
Yichun Xu, 19, is accused of driving his newly purchased Mercedes-Benz at freeway speeds through residential Des Moines, running through a stop sign and crashing, The Seattle Times reported.
The other driver, 25-year-old Brenda Gomez-Zapata, later died from a severe brain injury, and three others in her car were hurt as well. Xu faces one count of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular assault and two counts of reckless endangerment.
His bail was set at $2 million cash, which prosecutors had requested out of flight risk concerns. Xu’s attorney, Scott Leist, couldn’t be reached for comment.
“Rarely is a bail of that amount posted,” said King County prosecutor’s office chief of staff Ian Goodhew. “We asked for $2 million because we had flight-risk concerns. We are very much concerned he won’t show up for court.”
One condition of Xu’s release was that he surrender his passport. Goodhew said there have been cases in which Chinese nationals have surrendered their passports yet somehow have returned to China.
With no extradition treaty between the U.S. and China, Goodhew said King County has no recourse if Xu flees to his home country.
Xu couldn’t be held in jail because he had no pattern of previous violence or failure to appear, Goodhew added. Xu lived with a host family in Olympia and had a student visa while attending South Puget Sound Community College.
At the time of the accident, during which Xu was driving 70 mph on a residential street, he didn’t have an international license and hadn’t driven in the United States, charging documents said.
Gomez-Zapata was driving four family members to a birthday party.
No trial date has been set.
Story tags » SeattleCar accident

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