Driver in Granite Falls teacher’s crash death due in court

EVERETT — An Arlington man is expected to make his first court appearance Monday after being charged with vehicular homicide for a crash that killed a Granite Falls school teacher last year.

Prosecutors allege that Matthew Boitano, 22, disregarded the safety of others when he sped around another vehicle climbing a hill on Jordan Road. His Ford Explorer smashed into an oncoming car being driven by Suzy Armstrong.

The impact of the collision sent the Explorer onto the hood of the smaller car. The front of the sport utility vehicle smashed through the windshield and Armstrong’s car was pushed down the hill.

Armstrong never regained consciousness. She died Sept. 18 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Armstrong had been driving home from Monte Cristo Elementary School, where she taught special education.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives spent months investigating the collision and recreating what happened on the road.

Witnesses told investigators that Boitano had been tailgating another vehicle in the 35 mph zone. The witnesses reported that Boitano sped up to 60 mph to overtake the other vehicle.

Detectives believe Boitano crested the hill and instantly smashed into Armstrong. The Explorer wouldn’t have been in her view for more than two seconds before the crash. A person’s standard reaction time is at least 1½ seconds, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote.

When deputies arrived on scene, Boitano was seated in his vehicle. He wasn’t hurt. Deputies also concluded that Boitano didn’t appear intoxicated or impaired. He asked if Armstrong was going to be okay.

He reportedly told a deputy he had made a mistake, court papers said. Boitano allegedly said that he’d sped up to about 50 mph to pass a slower driver and crashed into oncoming car.

Boitano is expected to appear in Snohomish County Superior Court for arraignment. Prosecutors don’t plan to ask for any bail. The Arlington man doesn’t have any prior criminal history.

Armstrong worked in Granite Falls for five years. Much of her first four years at Granite Falls were split between Monte Cristo and Mountain Way elementary schools where she was part of a transitional classroom aimed at helping students with learning disabilities mainstream into regular classrooms.

Before that, she taught for nine years at the Northwest School for Hearing-Impaired Children in Seattle.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Most Read