Lynnwood ex-employee charged with DUI crash in city van

A jogger survived serious injuries, but she reportedly had no memory of the crash or the days after.

EVERETT — A former Lynnwood public works employee has been charged with a suspected DUI hit and run in a city vehicle, a crash that left a jogger seriously injured last month.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene at 6:44 p.m. April 8, near the intersection of 31st Place NW and Larch Way, southeast of Lynnwood. A witness reported seeing a white van leave the road near the 3300 block of Larch Way, hitting a garbage can and a road sign. The vehicle veered off again two blocks east, then swerved back into the roadway, striking the pedestrian, the witness reported.

Detectives later found tire marks showing a vehicle had repeatedly swerved. At the scene of the crash, detectives found a sign that had been struck, white paint and other debris.

A Lynnwood woman, 34, was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life threatening injuries, including “significant neurological issues.” She survived those injuries and eventually was released. On April 27, she told a detective she had several rib and pelvic fractures, as well as lacerated organs. She had no memory of the crash itself, or the days that followed.

The suspect, a Lynnwood man, also 34, was charged in Snohomish County Superior Court on May 1 with vehicular assault, as well as hit and run of an injury crash.

The suspected driver started working for Lynnwood’s public works department in December and was still on probation. He was off duty at the time of the crash. In a statement, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith said the city fired the man upon learning about the accusations.

“Our hearts ache for the victim of this tragic incident,” Smith said in the statement. “We continue to hold her in our thoughts and prayers.”

The suspect reportedly called 911 to report himself the night of the crash.

“I feel like I just hit somebody,” he said, according to the charges. “I panicked and didn’t know what to do … just take me to jail … as I veered off the road something happened … I hit something.”

When Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies showed up to the man’s house, they noted his slurred speech and the smell of alcohol. When asked for identification, he fumbled with his wallet for nearly a minute, and eventually handed over a credit card. He reportedly explained he was “shaken up” and drank six shots of alcohol upon returning home. He added that he had a couple beers around noon. He refused a field sobriety test.

At the man’s house was a white van that matched vehicle descriptions given by witnesses, according to charging papers. The passenger side appeared significantly damaged, including a large dent, a cracked headlight, a partially dislodged hood and a missing side mirror. A triangular chip of white paint collected from the scene of the crash matched a patch of missing paint on the van.

The man remained in the Snohomish County Jail on Friday, with bail set at $250,000.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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