Charges: ‘Reckless’ high-speed crash killed man, hurt infant near Bothell

Kona Stephan Lee Ah Ping Tom, now 36, was going double the speed limit when he slammed into a pickup on North Road in 2021.

Bothell

BOTHELL — An impaired driver crashed at over double the speed limit north of Bothell in 2021, killing a passenger and leaving neighbors to pull the driver’s infant daughter from the wreckage, according to new charges filed this month.

Around 7:45 p.m. April 2, 2021, witnesses reported a silver Volkswagen Jetta “fishtailing” north at speeds they estimated at 80 to 100 mph, according to the charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The car failed to turn right at a curve and collided with a southbound pickup, rotating the truck 180 degrees on impact. The Jetta careened over the sidewalk, through a fence and into a neighbor’s yard in the 17700 block of North Road. Both vehicles “suffered massive front-end damage, particularly to the passenger sides,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote.

A passenger, Skeuo Francis, 22, was ejected from the Jetta. He died at the scene. He was 22.

Neighbors rushed outside to find a small child in a car seat in the Jetta. Her father Kona Stephan Lee Ah Ping Tom, now 36, was unresponsive in the driver’s seat. Both the child and father were treated at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

The pickup driver, 42, of Lynnwood, wasn’t hurt.

Tom regained consciousness at the hospital in time to give deputies permission to draw his blood for testing. Around 10:19 p.m., authorities obtained a blood sample. Tests later came back positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl — though “it was unclear what if any drugs were therapeutically administered by the medics or hospital prior to the blood draw,” Darrow wrote.

Tom reported Francis grabbed the wheel because he feared they were going to crash, according to the charges.

Tom reportedly repeated the claim about a month after the crash, when he met with sheriff’s detective Marc Monson to pick up property from the wrecked Jetta.

Monson noted the car’s speedometer had been frozen at 92 mph, and that the impact had ejected the car’s battery from the engine compartment — “which can cause the instruments to freeze at that moment in time,” according to the charges.

By the detective’s best estimate, a crash scene reconstruction suggested the speed of the Jetta was 77 to 85 mph just before impact. The speed limit on North Road is 35 mph.

On March 6, prosecutors charged Tom with vehicular homicide while under the influence and while driving in a reckless manner. The charges add a special allegation that the vehicle had a child passenger who was under 16.

Tom had been convicted of driving under the influence and other minor driving offenses over a decade ago in Honolulu, but kept a clean misdemeanor record since then, court records suggest.

Tom did not appear to have a defense attorney as of this week, according to court records.

A summons was mailed to the defendant’s Everett address this month, notifying him of his arraignment on March 27.

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

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