Brandon Elias shows off his new motorcycle, a Baja Phoenix 250. He was killed by an alleged drunk driver in 2019. (Family photo)

Brandon Elias shows off his new motorcycle, a Baja Phoenix 250. He was killed by an alleged drunk driver in 2019. (Family photo)

Man charged in wrong-way fatal crash east of Lake Stevens

Aaron Blanchard allegedly was drinking before a head-on collision that killed Brandon Elias, 31.

LAKE STEVENS — Nearly a year after a fatal crash east of Lake Stevens, a Snohomish man has been charged with vehicular homicide while driving under the influence.

Prosecutors allege that Aaron Wade Blanchard, 45, was intoxicated when he was driving a pickup truck and struck a motorcyclist head-on last July. The motorcyclist, 31-year-old Brandon Elias, died from a severed spinal cord and a ruptured aortic artery, Snohomish County Medical Examiner Dr. Matthew Lacy determined.

A mother and daughter reported that the pickup truck was behind them a little after midnight July 5 when they were driving southbound on Newberg Road and approaching a section of the road that curved left.

As they rounded the curve, the witnesses said the pickup crossed into the other lane, going over solid double-yellow centerlines.

At the same time, Elias was riding his motorcycle northbound and was beginning to descend a hill in the 2900 block of Newberg Road

The pickup truck struck Elias and his motorcycle head-on, pushing him 127 feet uphill, according to charging papers. The impact severely dented the front of the pickup and tore the front wheel off the motorcycle.

Nearby residents who had been celebrating the Fourth of July in a driveway reported that they saw the collision. They ran to help. One of them checked to see if Elias was alive and said he heard his last three heartbeats.

The truck’s driver, Blanchard, reportedly told Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana. He refused sobriety tests, according to court papers. “No, I would fail those right now,” he allegedly told a deputy.

A blood sample was collected around 6 a.m. and was later found to contain .059 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of volume, and 1.8 nanograms per liter of active THC. It’s unclear from the charging papers when the blood sample was analyzed, but deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote that consumed alcohol dissipates at .015 grams per hour, according to expert testimonies he’s heard in the past. He wrote that the dissipation rate for THC varies from person to person.

According to family, Elias was always on the move, usually with wheels of some fashion under him. He often could be found at the skatepark or building mountain bike trails. He was proud of his short Baja Phoenix 250 motorcycle.

He had a soft spot for animals, and he had planned to marry his fiance, Jayme Fadden, sometime this year.

Just a couple days before his death, Elias posted a picture on Facebook warning against drinking and driving.

In an interview with The Daily Herald last year, family members said they wanted to see the state take DUI offenses more seriously.

Blanchard was not booked into the Snohomish County Jail. Prosecutors did not object to releasing him, pending trial, so long as he does not drive, consume alcohol or marijuana, and does not commit any crimes.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Ric Ilgenfritz is the new CEO Community Transit. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Community Transit’s new CEO looks beyond the pandemic

Ric Ilgenfritz anticipates continued growth and more bus service adjustments as light rail extends north.

Bernie Sanders meme using an app with Google Maps.
Bernie’s mittens: Feel the Bern? Or are you Berned out?

That photo of the senator looking frumpy and bored at the inauguration is everywhere, including Everett.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
$2.2B COVID conversation begins; a road feud may be easing

Here’s what’s happening on Day 15 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Micah Hogan (Rotary Club of Everett)
Three Everett students earn monthly Rotary honor

Everett Rotary names January students of the month Three high school students… Continue reading

submitted by Peg Tennant
Oak Harbor Farmers Market closes after more than 20 years

A new group is already planning for a new market this spring at Windjammer Park.

Carol Rochnowski, of Lake Stevens, enjoyed a socially distanced dinner with her neighbors, Andy and April Taylor, before the weather changed their weekly meals. The neighbors, along with Rochnowski's housemate Bernie Terry, have supported 24 restaurants during the pandemic. (Courtesy Carol Rochnowski)
With weekly take-out, neighbors feeding their friendships

These Lake Stevens families have made it a point to order takeout from an array of restaurants weathering the pandemic.

Jacob D. Little
Man accused of taking police gun in riot faces murder charge

Police charged Jacob D. Little, 25, of Everett, with second-degree murder and second-degree assault.

Lynnwood bookkeeper embezzles $230K from security company

Sheryl Rucker pleaded guilty to stealing from her employer, Absco Solutions. She must pay back the money.

Inslee pauses local highway projects to fund culverts fix

Lawmakers and civic leaders were peeved. The move slows work on Highway 9 in Lake Stevens and I-5 in Everett.

Most Read