Woman sentenced to nearly 22 years for fatal crash

EVERETT — Shellie Rose Collins has spent the past two decades racking up crimes and cycling in and out of jail.

Now Collins will spend the next two decades in prison for her latest and most serious offense — murder. Collins led Lynnwood police on a reckless, drug-fueled chase May 24 that ended in a deadly crash.

Jerry Robert Bennett, 72, was driving through a Mountlake Terrace intersection when Collins, 42, slammed into his van as she tried to outmaneuver police. Prosecutors alleged Collins, whose street name is “Shellshock,” was high on cocaine. There also were warrants for her arrest.

Bennett suffered fatal head injuries. He died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

A Snohomish County judge was told on Thursday that no one would be speaking on Bennett’s behalf. Prosecutors were unable to locate any relatives.

“Mr. Bennett doesn’t have any kin,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said.

Collins pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree murder. She was charged under the theory that she was attempting to elude police, a felony crime, when she caused Bennett’s death. She faced a maximum of nearly 23 years in prison.

Her attorney on Thursday asked the judge to show Collins leniency and give her a low-end sentence — about 14 1/2 years. Paul Thompson, a public defender, pointed out that Collins quickly pleaded guilty and spared the state the expense of a trial.

“I just want to take responsibility,” Collins told the judge.

Darrow asked for a mid-range sentence of 20 years.

Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss gave Collins credit for bringing a quick resolution to the case but said he couldn’t overlook her extensive, “abysmal” criminal history, dating back decades. He pointed out that Collins already had a vehicular assault conviction for hurting someone while she was behind the wheel. She was drunk in 2004 when she crossed a centerline and struck an oncoming vehicle. She also has more than a dozen convictions for driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Weiss sentenced Collins to nearly 22 years in prison.

He called Bennett’s death senseless. Weiss said it was fortunate that there weren’t more people injured by Collins’ reckless behavior.

Lynnwood police tried to stop Collins after discovering that she and her passenger both were wanted on warrants. The two-mile chase began around Highway 99 and 196th Street SW in Lynnwood.

A camera mounted on the dashboard of an officer’s unmarked car captured the chase. The bouncing van is seen swerving into oncoming traffic, running red lights and nearly striking several vehicles.

Finally, Collins ran the light at 212th Street and 44th Avenue W. and smashed into Bennett’s van. She was driving 75 mph seconds before the crash.

The impact sent the two vans spinning out of control. Bennett’s van was propelled about 180 feet and landed on a sidewalk. The other van careened into a pole.

Collins’ passenger, 53, broke his arm in the crash. He told police he tried to get the woman to stop. Collins was not seriously hurt.

Collins was the second person charged with murder this year for a fatal crash.

Joseph Strange is accused of leading police on a more than 10-mile chase from Lynnwood to Everett before he plowed into Rachael Kamin, a nurse on her way home from work.

Kamin, the mother of two, suffered fatal head injuries.

Strange, 33, is charged with first-degree murder because he allegedly caused Kamin’s death “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life.”

Prosecutors allege that Strange rammed a police patrol car and another vehicle before leading officers on a high-speed chase. His flight from the cops came to an end only after Strange crashed into Kamin’s car in a north Everett intersection. He is scheduled to go to trial later this year.

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

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read