Guilty plea is entered in fatal Lake Stevens crash

EVERETT — Richard Peck was drunk when he killed Patrick Wallace.

Peck ran a red light on Highway 9 near Lake Stevens and broadsided 19-year-old Wallace’s Honda Civic. It was 12:30 a.m. on May 21, 2016. Wallace died in his car.

Peck, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular homicide, admitting that he was responsible for taking Wallace from his family. He also admitted he was drunk and behind the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee.

Peck faces up to 8½ years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Two hours after the deadly crash, Peck’s blood alcohol was more than twice the legal limit. He also tested positive for marijuana. Police on scene reported that Peck was so drunk they could smell alcohol on him from five feet away.

His eyes were bloodshot and watery. He stumbled when he walked, and his speech was slurred. Peck also seemed oblivious to the devastation he’d caused.

He circled Wallace’s mangled car, asking, “Where’s the (expletive) driver?” according to one witness.

Peck later told officers that Wallace was to blame. The teen pulled out in front of him, Peck said.

Witnesses told a different story, saying Peck ran the red light and slammed into the Honda as it was traveling through the intersection. One driver, in the lane next to Wallace, braked abruptly after realizing that Peck wasn’t stopping for the red light. His vehicle may have blocked Wallace’s view.

A detective concluded that Peck’s light was red for 7.19 seconds prior to impact. He was going 55 mph when he hit Wallace. Detectives determined that given the friction of the roadway and speed of the Cherokee, Peck had twice the minimum distance needed to safely stop his Jeep when the light turned red. There was no sign that Peck ever braked before colliding with the Honda.

Wallace was a 2015 Snohomish High School graduate.

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