Alec Gajdos after briefly speaking during his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alec Gajdos after briefly speaking during his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Bothell man sentenced to over 3 years for hit-and-run that killed 2

Alec Gajdos was driving on Highway 524 when he veered off the road and hit Carson Cox and Sara Fox-Heath, killing them.

EVERETT — A Bothell man has been sentenced to three years and two months in prison for a hit-and-run crash that left two pedestrians dead.

Earlier this year, a Snohomish County Superior Court jury convicted Alec Gajdos of hit-and-run in the death of Carson Cox, 32, and Sara Fox-Heath, 39.

Gajdos, 28, was driving west on Highway 524 on the morning of Feb. 19, 2021, when he veered off the road and struck Cox and Fox-Heath near Nellis Road. He did not get out of his car to see what had happened and kept driving to work. He later told detectives he thought he’d hit a garbage bin.

At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, defense attorney Kenneth Williams asked Judge Karen Moore to impose a first-time offender waiver and sentence Gadjos to one year of probation in lieu of any jail time. The waivers give judges in Washington the option to impose lighter sentences for people convicted of some felony crimes, if they do not have a prior criminal history.

Williams said his client is truly remorseful.

“The Legislature chose to categorize this crime of hit-and-run death as a non-violent traffic offense,” Williams told the court. “I believe that if Alec knew that he had hit two people that morning, he definitely would have stopped.”

Deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow asked the judge for a sentence of three years and five months in prison.

“I really view the first-offender waiver — although he’s technically eligible — as wholly inappropriate in this case,” Darrow told the court. “… He never even got out of his vehicle. It continues to be the most salient fact about this. Barely stopped his car.”

After work on the day of the crash, Gajdos stopped by a 7-Eleven to get a drink. The windshield of his Chevy Malibu was shattered and part of the car’s bumper was missing. Washington State Patrol troopers saw the damaged car and approached Gajdos.

A detective reportedly told Gajdos he’d hit and killed Cox and Fox-Heath. A jogger had found their bodies hours later in brush on the side of the road, according to court papers.

Gajdos sobbed, detectives wrote.

“I can’t believe this, man,” he reportedly said. Gajdos was arrested and taken to the police station for questioning.

Gajdos told police he’d had trouble sleeping the night before the crash, detectives wrote. When he realized he had hit something, he reportedly looked over his shoulder for a few seconds, didn’t see anything and continued on his way to work.

As he awaited trial, Gajdos was arrested for investigation of two counts of hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license. He reportedly crashed into two separate cars on the same day in Lynnwood, police wrote, before authorities were able to stop him. He had not been charged in that case as of Tuesday.

Family members of the two victims spoke at the sentencing hearing.

Cox’s grandmother, Judy Cody, wept as she addressed the judge and shared memories of her “typical jokester of a grandson.”

The grandmother said Cox had come to visit her the day before he died. He went to take a shower. He didn’t have a change of clothes, so his grandmother gave him a pair of her pajamas to borrow. Later, Cody walked into the kitchen and saw Cox standing by the fridge, wearing her pajamas and drinking milk right from the carton — a pastime he knew was the one thing that irritated her the most.

“I just want you to know that kid was full of life,” Cody told the judge. “I thank the Lord every day that I had that last day with him. I miss him so much. I hurt because my daughter hurts. And you know anybody who has children knows what it’s like to see your children hurt.”

The father of Fox-Heath’s children also spoke at the hearing.

“I just have a couple of dates that I’d like to point out,” he said to the judge. “In the last year, Sara got to not see her son graduate high school, her oldest son turn 21 years old and her daughter go to her very first homecoming dance. My children do not have their mother to fall upon when they need a friend, a confidant, an adviser.”

When asked if he wanted to address the judge, Gajdos cried and said he was remorseful. He told the court he was suicidal before he went to jail.

“I know whatever I say cannot bring them back or fix the pain that I caused,” he said. “It won’t bring your mother back, it won’t bring your son back. I regret the actions I took that morning every day.”

Before she announced her sentence, Judge Moore told Gajdos that nobody believes Gajdos intentionally caused the death of Cox and Fox-Heath that morning.

Moore said a first-time offender waiver was “inappropriate” in this case.

“By imposing a sentence, it is not my intention to make you feel like a worthless person,” the judge said. “You’re not.”

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

This story has been modified to correct the length of Alec Gajdos’ sentence and the number of counts of hit-and-run for which he was convicted.

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