LYNNWOOD — A Feb. 3 crash along I-5 that took the lives of two girls and seriously injured two other children apparently was fueled by a Lake Stevens man’s use of methamphetamine, Snohomish County prosecutors allege.
Todd Eugene Brown, 51, smashed his Ford F-250 into a minivan that had slowed for traffic along the northbound lanes of I-5 near 164th Street SW.
Brown didn’t show obvious signs of impairment at the scene, but a voluntary blood test detected methamphetamine and amphetamine at levels indicative of abuse, deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that potential effects from meth include “inattentive driving, failing to stop and general distraction,” the prosecutor wrote. An investigation by the Washington State Patrol found no sign that Brown tried to brake his truck before impact.
The minivan was carrying two adults and four children, all relatives. Killed were Amiyah Johnson, 12, a sixth-grader at Olympic View Middle School and her cousin, Yesterday Wallace, 2. Two boys, ages 5 and 7, were hospitalized with numerous broken bones.
Darrow on Tuesday charged Brown with two counts each of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. All of the charges allege Brown was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.
Brown has no criminal history. He told troopers that he’d been cut off and rear-ended the mini van.
“He said he did not have time to apply his brakes,” Darrow said.
While the pickup truck driver showed no obvious signs of impairment, a trooper trained in drug recognition was called to the scene.
That trooper noticed Brown’s eyes were slightly bloodshot and that he had some difficulty standing on one leg during field sobriety testing. Still, there weren’t sufficient indications to conclude the man was impaired, court papers said.
Troopers asked Brown if he would provide the State Patrol with a voluntary blood sample. After consultation with an attorney, he did and was released.
Prosecutors have asked that $100,000 bail be imposed and that the court order Brown to refrain from drug use and not to possess firearms or weapons while awaiting trial.
Brown is scheduled to make a first court appearance in the case later this month.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snorthnews.