By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — A Mukilteo woman has died from injuries she suffered in a crash involving a man who allegedly was trying to outrun police in a stolen pickup truck.
Rachael Kamin, 40, suffered severe head injuries and died Tuesday, her sister Misty Sibley said.
Everett police say they now are investigating whether they can build a first-degree murder case against the convicted car thief they say was behind the wheel in the stolen truck.
Kamin, a registered nurse, was on her way home late Sunday night when her car was struck by a stolen Ford F350 pickup truck following a high-speed chase from Bothell into downtown Everett. She was just a few blocks from her job at the south campus of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
She died Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Even in death, her sister could be helping others with the gift of her organs, Sibley said.
“She was an adamant donor,” she said.
Kamin was a nurse, wife and the mother of two sons, 15 and 13. She spent hours on the sidelines of their sporting events.
The high-speed chase began when Bothell patrol officers spotted the pickup truck, which had been reported stolen from Lake Stevens last week.
An Everett District Court judge on Tuesday set bail at $1 million for the suspect, Joseph D. Strange, 33. He has a long criminal history studded with multiple convictions for stealing cars and trying to elude police.
He initially was arrested for investigation of second-degree assault, auto theft and attempting to elude police while being an ex-con on community custody.
With Kamin’s death, Strange will be facing more serious charges. Detectives hope to have him held for investigation of first-degree murder, Everett police Sgt. Ryan Dalberg said on Wednesday.
Under Washington law, a person can be charged with first-degree murder if he or she causes a death “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life” or through behavior that “creates a grave risk of death to any person.”
The “extreme indifference” theory was used by Snohomish County prosecutors to win a double-murder conviction against Dennis Cramm, an Everett teen who admitted repeatedly firing a military-style rifle into a car in May 2000.
The same theory has been used with mixed success by prosecutors in Spokane County in deaths resulting from car crashes.
In 1996, Spokane prosecutors opted to bring first-degree murder charges against an angry, drunken man who killed two when he deliberately ignored a stop light and plowed into other motorists. They got a 50-year sentence that withstood appeals. They attempted the same strategy in 2002 but a jury couldn’t agree on whether the death was a murder. Instead, the man was convicted of vehicular homicide and faced an exceptional sentence.
Sunday’s crash is being investigated by Everett police, whose officers were not involved in the pursuit.
“Bothell is going to be doing a review of their own pursuit,” Dalberg said.
Everett has a policy that discourages car chases involving its officers.
As part of their investigation, Everett detectives want to talk with people who were in another passenger car that was hit by the fleeing pickup truck Sunday night at an AM/PM convenience store in the 1500 block of 164th Street SE. That collision occurred just before 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.
They are asking that driver and anyone who witnessed the collision to call the Everett Police Department tip line at 425-257-8450. Detectives note that a number of people posted comments on HeraldNet claiming to have seen parts of the chase or crash. They are hopeful that those commenters will pick up a phone.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Route of chase that ended in woman’s death:
View May 12 pursuit and fatal crash in a larger map
Pickup involved in fatal crash: Police seek witnesses in a second collision involving the stolen pickup truck, shown in the video below.