Man who crashed into officer during diabetic episode faces felony

EVERETT — A Lynnwood man who suffered a diabetic episode and crashed into a deputy last year is now charged with a felony.

Prosecutors allege that Jason Buckingham was mismanaging his diabetes and shouldn’t have been behind the wheel June 13, 2013. Witnesses say Buckingham lost control of his car, veered across several lanes of Evergreen Way and smashed head-on into a sheriff’s deputy on a motorcycle.

Deputy Bill Dawson was thrown from his bike and suffered serious injuries, including broken bones and organ damage.

He spent more than three months in a wheelchair. Dawson has since returned to work, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

Prosecutors allege that Buckingham, 34, disregarded the safety of others when he drove that day. He is charged with vehicular assault and is scheduled to answer to the charge later this month in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Buckingham told detectives that he has been diabetic since he was 8.

In the weeks leading up to the crash medics were summoned to his home several times. Each time, the paramedics determined that his blood sugar was too low.

His medical records showed that Buckingham wasn’t regularly checking his blood sugar, court papers said.

Buckingham reportedly told detectives that he didn’t remember the crash. He said he must have had a diabetic episode, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote. Witnesses said Buckingham appeared disoriented.

Paramedics at the scene of the crash determined that Buckingham’s blood sugar was extremely low.

Buckingham’s license was suspended at the time of the crash, Darrow wrote. He caused a head-on crash in 2010 in Mukilteo. He collapsed as he walked toward the other vehicle and told officers that he thought his blood sugar was too low.

His driver’s license was suspended after the crash because he didn’t have insurance, Darrow wrote. His license wasn’t reinstated, he added.

He was cited again in 2012 with driving with a suspended license.

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

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