Marysville mother pleads guilty in wreck that killed son

EVERETT — A Marysville mother pleaded guilty Thursday to vehicular homicide, but didn’t admit any responsibility for the 2010 crash that killed her young son.

Prosecutors alleged that Kortnie Forbes, 26, was drunk when she ran off a rural Arlington road. Her 7-year-old son, Isayah, was crushed to death when he was partially ejected from his mom’s Ford pickup.

Her two other children, then 5 and 3, survived the crash. None of the kids were in child safety seats, according to Snohomish County sheriff’s investigators. A detective concluded that if Isayah had been in a child seat he likely would have survived, court papers said.

Forbes on Thursday didn’t admit any wrongdoing. Instead, she agreed to plead guilty because she believed a jury likely would find her guilty of the crime. Forbes faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced next month. She remains out of custody.

State social workers had investigated allegations that Forbes routinely drove drunk with her kids in the car.

Investigations in 2003 and 2006 were inconclusive and then closed, according to a state fatality review conducted last year into Isayah’s death. A 2007 investigation was closed without a finding.

Social workers at the time didn’t have concrete evidence to support the allegations, said Sherry Hill, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Child welfare workers received an anonymous tip about two months before the fatal crash, once again alleging that Forbes was driving drunk with her children.

An investigation was opened and a social worker visited the home. Forbes denied using drugs or alcohol and denied drinking and driving. Isayah didn’t say anything that would support the allegations. Forbes agreed to take a urinalysis and tested negative for alcohol.

The social worker in August 2010 prepared to close the case. A supervisor requested follow-up work. The supervisor requested that a child protective team dig deeper.

The office, however, had a backlog of cases for the local child-protective team. The concerns about Forbes were put on a waiting list for attention in October 2010, according to the review. Isayah died Sept. 18, 2010.

Tests revealed that his mother’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

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

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