After fatal crash, driver won’t serve more time for a new DUI

Joshua Krueger was convicted of a fatal crash. He drove impaired again. It won’t change his release date.

EVERETT — A Kenmore man will not have to serve additional jail time for driving under the influence, a crime he committed within days of pleading guilty to vehicular homicide.

Two months ago at a tearful court hearing, Joshua Krueger, 30, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for causing a deadly T-bone crash at the end of a police chase through Lynnwood.

Khanh Tran, 66, of Seattle, was pulling out of a driveway on the afternoon of Jan. 13, when a speeding Jaguar XE struck his car with such force that the Jaguar went airborne and landed on the hood of a Jeep.

Krueger jumped out of the car and ran through a QFC to evade police. An officer chased him down and booked him into jail. In August, he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while under the influence and hit and run of a fatal crash. Tests showed he had fentanyl and THC in his blood.

Two weeks later, a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy spotted a 2006 Land Rover in the middle of Highway 99, stopped in spite of a green light as other cars drove around it. The deputy saw Krueger shirtless, slumped over, with sweat-soaked hair. The gear shifter was in drive, and his foot was on the brake. Deputies saw tinfoil streaked with a brown substance in the center console.

Krueger was booked into jail for investigation of felony driving under the influence. Again, tests revealed Krueger had fentanyl and THC in his bloodstream, as well as meth.

At sentencing for the homicide, Superior Court Judge David Kurtz declined to consider whether Krueger was impaired at the time of the second arrest, but found it relevant that he’d violated the terms of his release by driving at all.

Tran died six months short of his planned retirement. His grown children asked for stern sentences, in letters to the judge.

“Simply saying he died implies something passive where no one was at fault and it was an unavoidable situation, but that is just not the case,” one of his children wrote. “Mr. Krueger killed my father and regardless of what was or wasn’t going through his mind, he is the one responsible.”

Tran’s widow told the prosecutor she wanted leniency for Krueger, because in her Buddhist faith it is important to forgive. Krueger was addicted to drugs, and he was still young enough to improve his life, she reasoned. Some punishment would not be a bad idea, she wrote.

“However, keeping him in jail for a long time does not do any good,” she told the judge in writing. “It destroys his life and makes him a burden on the society.”

On Tuesday in court, Krueger apologized again, this time for his actions in September.

Judge Kurtz approved a plea deal reached by deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow and defense attorney Christine Olson. Technically, the judge ordered the defendant to serve 2½ years behind bars, but Kurtz ruled both sentences can be completed at the same time. The conviction adds a felony DUI to Krueger’s record, and puts the case behind him.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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