Negligent driving that caused death brings $10,287 ticket

EVERETT — Snohomish County prosecutors won’t file criminal charges against a Kirkland man who fatally struck a cyclist on Evergreen Way last year.

Instead, Everett police detectives cited the man for second-degree negligent driving and wrote him a $10,287 ticket.

The ticket packs such a financial wallop because under Washington law, cyclists can be considered “vulnerable users” of roads.

Trent Graham, 30, was riding his bicycle home from work on Oct. 17, 2012. The Everett father was a salesman at Gregg’s Cycle in Alderwood and logged countless miles on his bicycle.

He was on Evergreen Way just south of the intersection with SW Everett Mall Way when a southbound pickup drifted across three lanes of traffic, jumped the curb and struck Graham and a power pole.

Everett detectives launched an investigation to determine what caused the Kirkland man to drive off the road. They didn’t turn up any evidence that drugs, alcohol or speed played a role in the crash, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said.

There is evidence that the driver suffered from a seizure, which likely caused him to lose control of the truck, he said.

Investigators searched the man’s medical and driving records. There was no indication that the man knew he had a medical condition that caused seizures.

In this case, to convict the man of vehicular homicide prosecutors would have to prove that he was aware of the risk he posed driving and disregarded that danger. That could have played out if the man knew he had a seizure disorder and disobeyed a doctor’s orders not to drive, or he was driving with a suspended license.

There’s no evidence in the records that he had seizures in the past, Darrow said.

Detectives, however, believe there is proof that the man’s driving was negligent and caused Graham’s death, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said. They wrote the man a traffic ticket last month. The ticket includes the $5,000 fine allowed under the law plus court costs and fees, police said.

Graham is survived by a young son. His family told The Herald that the Everett man was an accomplished artist, who had recently shown some of his work at Burning Man, an annual art gathering in the Nevada desert.

He also was passionate about cycling.

Graham commuted by bike and believed in living a car-free lifestyle.

“He didn’t like to drive. He was so proud of all the miles” he rode, his mother Monica Quigley told The Herald last year.

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

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