Eviction lawyer booked into jail weeks after his disbarment

Brian Read, 45, of Freeland, pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular assault while under the influence.

Brian Read

Brian Read

EVERETT — A lawyer who was disbarred last month for financial misconduct was sentenced to three months in the Snohomish County Jail this week for causing a five-car crash while intoxicated in 2019.

On the evening of Nov. 3, 2019, Brian Read was driving a Chevrolet Suburban north on I-5. His SUV began to fishtail near the 164th Street exit in Lynnwood, witnesses reported. The five-lane freeway is straight and flat near that exit.

Read, 45, a former landlord-tenant attorney, veered his Chevy into the carpool lane. The lawyer’s SUV crossed the shoulder and crashed into a guardrail, leaving a 6-foot bend in the rail, according to charging documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Four other cars crashed as a result, according to court records.

One witness reported she was driving her Volkswagen Beetle in the interstate’s far right lane when she saw the Chevy erratically crossing traffic lanes in the direction of the guardrail. Read’s SUV rammed into the driver’s side of her Beetle, and her car rolled off the freeway and down a grassy embankment. She walked away with minor injuries.

Another witness was driving her Jeep Cherokee in the middle lane when she saw the Chevy lose control. She steered to the right to avoid colliding with the SUV. This caused the Jeep to rear-end another vehicle. She suffered a broken right leg.

A Washington State Patrol trooper arrived to find Read standing next to the Chevy. Read reportedly told the trooper he lost control of the vehicle and was “not sure if he had caused the series of collisions,” according to court records.

The trooper smelled alcohol on Read’s breath and noticed his eyes were bloodshot and watery. Read agreed to field sobriety tests and struggled with the walk-and-turn test, according to charging papers.

Read, of Freeland on Whidbey Island, was arrested and transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where a sample of his blood was collected more than two hours after the crash. His blood-alcohol content at that time was 0.11 — above the legal limit of 0.08.

Read was not required to post bond, on a promise to show up to court hearings. He continued to practice law for the next two years, specializing in providing counsel to landlords in eviction lawsuits throughout Snohomish County.

In March, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow charged Read with vehicular assault while under the influence. Read continued to practice law for almost three months after that.

He worked as an attorney in Washington for nearly 20 years. In 2020, he was outspoken about his opposition to the statewide eviction moratorium. He talked to reporters from KING 5 and made posts on his law firm’s Facebook page.

Read was disbarred last month for taking thousands of dollars out of a client trust account to pay his mortgage, and for showing indifference in repaying the money, among other financial misconduct.

On Monday, the ex-lawyer pleaded guilty to the felony charges. He was represented by a public defender, Robert O’Neal.

Under state guidelines, Read faced a range of three to nine months behind bars. Superior Court Judge Cassandra Lopez-Shaw handed down a three-month jail sentence, in line with the recommendation of prosecutors.

The ex-lawyer must complete one year of probation after his release from jail. During that time, he must refrain from drinking alcohol and undergo an evaluation for substance use disorder.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)
Agreed: Absent Marysville superintendent will resign in 2022

Jason Thompson, meanwhile, will not work and will be paid $21,630 per month through June 30.

A worker disassembles a fluidized bed incinerator at the Edmonds Wastewater Treatment Plant on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
In Edmonds, $26M goes to a cleaner way to get rid of poop

The city will reduce its wastewater carbon footprint by dumping an incinerator and using new technology.

Marysville man shot in hand during apparent drug robbery

At least two suspects were being sought, and police are seeking surveillance video.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

The Voting Commissioners of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released draft Legislative District maps Tuesday. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Early maps of legislative districts endanger some incumbents

Under one redistricting proposal, Mill Creek joins Everett. Under another, Monroe joins Wenatchee.

Driver who died in Everett car crash identified

Thomas Ogden, 43, was driving Tuesday morning on Rucker Avenue at 41st Street when another car crashed into his.

Granite Falls altercation: Dog killed, man shot in head

A 20-year-old man allegedly shot an intruder, 54, who threatened two people and killed their dog.

Arlington son, 19, charged with slaying his father

Nicholi Melum had been yelling at his son, Garner, when he was killed.

Michealob Johnson (left), 25, is accused of killing Jae An at the Food Mart in the 6900 block of Broadway in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Trial begins for man who admitted killing a mini-mart clerk

Michealob Johnson is accused of aggravated first-degree murder in the 2019 stabbing death in Everett.

Most Read