Marysville woman charged in fatal crash tests positive for alcohol use

EVERETT — A Marysville woman accused of being drunk when she caused a 2010 crash that killed her young son was ordered to report to jail Saturday after twice testing positive for alcohol.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow on Thursday argued that Kortnie Forbes should be held on $100,000 bail. Darrow told the judge that he’d received reports showing that Forbes tested positive for alcohol in August and September despite a previous court order prohibiting her from consuming alcohol.

Forbes, 26, is charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a rollover crash that took the life of her 7-year-old son, Isayah. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and has remained free on her own personal recognizance.

In July, Darrow attempted to have Forbes taken into custody and held on $100,000 bail. A state social worker had reported that Forbes was failing to comply with drug-monitoring recommendations made in a separate child custody case.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss at the time declined the prosecutor’s request for bail. Instead, Weiss ordered Forbes to comply with random drug testing.

Since then Forbes has twice tested positive for alcohol — once on Aug. 19 and again on Sept. 23, Darrow said Thursday.

Her attorney Mark Mestel told the judge that Forbes hadn’t violated the court order. The tests may have been picking up the alcohol contained in the over-the-counter cold medication that Forbes was taking at the time. She also had used hand sanitizer containing alcohol, which could skew the results, Mestel argued.

Forbes was required to put an ignition interlock device on her car. She drove her car to the testing facility on one of the days that she tested positive for alcohol. She wouldn’t have been able to start her car if she had been drinking, Mestel said.

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas wasn’t convinced that cold medication or hand sanitizer would account for the amount of alcohol reported in Forbes’ blood.

“I doubt very seriously those are trace amounts associated with hand sanitizers or Theraflu,” Lucas said Thursday.

He ordered Forbes held on $25,000 bail. Lucas gave her until noon Saturday to check into jail, allowing her time to come up with bail money.

Prosecutors allege that Forbes was extremely intoxicated Sept. 18, 2010, when she lost control of her pickup off McRae Road outside of Arlington.

The truck collided with power poles and a large rock. Isayah was partially ejected and died at the scene. Her two other young children also were in the pickup. They weren’t seriously injured.

Forbes reportedly told police she’d had two beers and two shots of rum before driving toward home. Tests later showed that Forbes’ blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, court papers said.

Records indicated that since 2003, state social workers have investigated allegations that Forbes has driven drunk with her children. Social workers at the time didn’t have concrete evidence to support the allegations and the cases were closed, records show.

Two months before the fatal crash, an anonymous caller reported that Forbes was driving intoxicated, every day, with her children.

Forbes denied the allegations and tested negative for alcohol, according to a child fatality review.

A supervisor requested that a child protective team dig deeper into the case. The office, however, had a backlog of cases. The concerns about Forbes were put on waiting list for attention in October 2010.

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

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