Lars Kundu wipes away tears during his sentencing Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Lars Kundu wipes away tears during his sentencing Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

5 years after fatal hit and run, Lake Stevens man sentenced to prison

Lars Kundu, 28, pleaded guilty in May for the 2018 death of Chad Keeler. He was handed more than 6 years in prison Thursday.

GRANITE FALLS — More than five years after killing a motorcyclist in Granite Falls, a Lake Stevens man was sentenced Thursday to 6½ years in prison.

Lars Kundu, 28, pleaded guilty in May to vehicular homicide while under the influence for the death of Chad Keeler, 29. Under state sentencing guidelines, Kundu faced 6½ to 8½ years in prison.

On Thursday, deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow and defense attorney Laura Shaver both recommended the low end of that range. Darrow called the sentence a “fair resolution in the end.”

“This has been quite a learning experience,” Shaver said in court. “He has changed, he has grown so much during those five years. He’s done a lot to improve himself in terms of his education, his mental health, and his substance addiction.”

After handing down Kundu’s sentence, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Richard Okrent read aloud a statement on behalf of Keeler’s family.

“Chad will never have the love of his life, a family to care for,” Keeler’s great aunt wrote. “But Mr. Kundu can still have a future. I sincerely hope that Mr. Kundu will spend the next 6.5 years re-evaluating his actions and how his actions effected everyone around him …”

On Jan. 28, 2018, Keeler was riding a motorcycle east on Highway 92, followed by several friends in a Volkswagen GTI, court documents say. The group approached a roundabout on the outskirts of the city when a Mazda Navajo SUV began tailgating them.

Lars Kundu (left) is shown in court in January 2018, following his arrest in a fatal crash near Granite Falls. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)

Lars Kundu (left) is shown in court in January 2018, following his arrest in a fatal crash near Granite Falls. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)

The SUV, driven by Kundu, then passed the Volkswagen, striking Keeler’s motorcycle from behind and veering it off the road into the grass, according to charging papers. Keeler was thrown from the motorcycle.

Witnesses in the Volkswagen reported seeing the SUV stop and run Keeler over before driving away. The defendant reportedly almost hit another car while trying to escape.

Kundu’s SUV hit a fence and kept going. As the vehicle lost traction in a grass field, one of Keeler’s friends ran after him.

Keeler died at the scene from blunt force trauma, consistent with being run over by a vehicle, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Kundu told police the motorcyclist braked abruptly, causing the crash.

A blood sample showed the defendant had 17 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood — above the legal limit of 5 nanograms. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Two years after Keeler’s death, prosecutors charged Kundu with vehicular homicide.

In court Thursday, the defendant apologized.

“I’m very sorry to the family,” Kundu said. “I’m sorry, I guess. I’m trying to change. I’m trying to get better everyday.”

The year before the fatal crash, Kundu reached a $375,000 settlement with Snohomish County after suffering critical injuries in a car crash in 2011. At the time of the settlement, Kundu’s civil attorney said his injuries were never heal — “not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434;; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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