The scene of a two-car collision on southbound I-5 in Everett, just south of 41st Street, early on Feb. 19. (Washington State Patrol)

The scene of a two-car collision on southbound I-5 in Everett, just south of 41st Street, early on Feb. 19. (Washington State Patrol)

Everett man charged in wrong-way crash that killed retiring couple

Caleb Wride, 22, crashed head-on into a Volkswagen Beetle, charging papers say. Wilfrido and Mila Sarmiento died at the scene.

EVERETT — An Everett man has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide for a car crash that killed a newly retired couple.

Just before 1 a.m. Feb. 19, a man was driving south on I-5. He was in the right lane, about to take the 128th Street exit, when he saw a Chrysler 200 driving toward him on the exit ramp. The man flashed his headlights to try and alert the Chrysler driver they were going the wrong way.

Caleb Wride, 22, was behind the wheel of the Chrysler, new charging papers say. The Chrysler kept going and entered I-5, north in the southbound lanes. The car reportedly cut across all five lanes and was headed north in the southbound HOV lane.

People called 911 about the erratic driver. One witness reported she was driving south on the interstate when she saw the northbound Chrysler swerving around oncoming traffic before it passed by her on the other side of the road.

“She lost sight of it and then saw a plume of smoke as she approached the 41st Street exit,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote.

Troopers arrived to the scene to find Wride’s Chrysler had crashed head-on into a Volkswagen Beetle. The front ends of both cars were smashed, Darrow wrote.

Wilfrido Sarmiento, 67, and Mila Sarmiento, 65, died at the scene. Family members of the Lynnwood couple attended Wride’s bail hearing last month and shared statements about how much they loved the victims.

“They’d just retired in the last week and were supposed to be flying to Iceland today,” said Wilfrido Sarmiento Jr., one of the couple’s three children. “Instead, their three children are working through funeral plans.”

Troopers saw Wride trying to stick his hand through a hole in the windshield, Darrow wrote, and ordered Wride to open the driver’s side door. Wride smelled like alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and spoke with slurred speech, the charges say. The Everett man reported he consumed three or four shots of alcohol earlier in the evening. He also reportedly told the trooper he was “driving from Arlington to Marysville” on Highway 9.

Shortly after the crash, an initial breath test measured Wride’s blood-alcohol content at 0.189, more than twice the legal limit.

Wride was transported to a hospital then booked into jail for investigation of two counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and driving under the influence. He remained in custody Wednesday with bail set at $750,000. His next court date is scheduled for March 25.

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

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