EVERETT — A Kenmore man must serve 11 years in prison for causing a deadly crash as he fled from police at an estimated 100 mph in Lynnwood, a Snohomish County judge ruled Monday.
Joshua Krueger had pleaded guilty in August to the vehicular homicide of Khanh Tran, 66, for a T-bone crash so violent that the suspect’s Jaguar went airborne and landed on the hood of a parked Jeep.
Days after the guilty plea, sheriff’s deputies arrested Krueger again for investigation of driving under the influence on Highway 99, and a Superior Court judge raised his bail from $200,000 to $1 million. Yet in an apparent accident, Krueger was released from jail Oct. 4, without being required to post bail.
The deputy prosecutor, Tobin Darrow, said that was news to him Monday. He didn’t know exactly what led to the release, but it appeared jail staff had noted no charges were filed by the deadline in the DUI case, and the message never made it to the jail that he still needed to be held in the more serious case.
Krueger, 30, showed up to his sentencing hearing nonetheless Monday, knowing he faced about a decade in prison for the the fatal crash.
An Edmonds police officer tried to stop a Jaguar XE on the afternoon of Jan. 13, as the driver barrelled through a stop sign, blew a red light and accelerated to about 100 mph, court papers say. Tran was pulling out of a driveway when the Jaguar crashed into the driver’s side of his car in the 19800 block of 76th Avenue. As Tran died, Krueger jumped out of the Jaguar and ran into a QFC. An officer chased him down. Krueger was carrying aluminum foil and a pen hollowed out for doing drugs.
He’d pleaded guilty, posted bond and was awaiting sentencing in September, when a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy found him slumped over on Highway 99, with his foot on the brake in the middle of traffic.
No charges have been filed in the new DUI case.
Tran’s family offered differing opinions Monday about how much time the defendant should serve.
Tran’s widow declined to speak in court, but she had told the prosecutor it was important to forgive, in her Buddhist faith.
“She, from the beginning, was interested in some leniency in this case,” Darrow said. “ … I just can’t agree with her on that point.”
Tran’s children wrote letters to the judge seeking accountability for the man who killed their father.
Krueger’s father, John Krueger, said his son needed to be held accountable for his conduct, and he hoped the prison sentence would include resources to help him overcome drug addiction. The father did not want to offer excuses, he said, but he noted that fetal alcohol syndrome and drug abuse in the family hampered his son’s childhood development.
“Now, in a perfect world, Josh would’ve learned a long time ago just to say no to drugs, but he’s never lived in a perfect world,” his father said.
Joshua Krueger apologized to Tran’s family through tears.
“Sometimes I wish it was me that was hit,” he said. “But I just want to change, try to be better.”
Superior Court Judge David Kurtz said he would not consider whether Krueger had been impaired in the September incident, but he did find it relevant that Krueger violated the terms of his release by driving at all. Under state guidelines, the sentence was near the high end of the standard range of 8½ to 11⅓ years.
“I think he carries a great amount of depression and weight on his shoulders for this,” defense attorney Christine Olson told the judge Monday. “ … He believes that he deserves to go to prison for this. I think he will actually be relieved when he gets taken into custody today.”
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.