Man convicted in US 2 ‘huffing’ crash, homicide loses appeal

A trooper had established probable cause to take a blood sample, according to the court ruling.

SULTAN — A Sultan man whose vehicular homicide conviction included allegations of huffing computer cleaner while driving has lost his appeal.

A Snohomish County Superior Court jury last year found Anthony Box guilty of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault. Prosecutors alleged that Box huffed aerosol computer cleaner on Nov. 12, 2015, before losing control of his vehicle on U.S. 2 between Sultan and Monroe.

Box’s car veered off the highway, launched into the air and tumbled end over end into a gully. Madison Whiddon, 17, the front seat passenger, was ejected. She died instantly upon hitting the ground, jurors were told. Three other teens were injured in the crash, including Whiddon’s 14-year-old sister.

Box, who was 18 at the time of the crash, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He is serving his time at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in southwest Washington.

His appeal argued that a judge should have denied a motion to suppress his lab test results because there wasn’t probable cause to take a blood sample. It also argued that his trial attorney provided ineffective counsel.

The state Court of Appeals found there was probable cause to issue a search warrant to obtain the blood sample.

A detective testified at trial that the distance from where the 2000 Volkswagen Jetta left the roadway to where it finally stopped was about the length of two football fields. The car was estimated to have been airborne for about 120 feet.

The appeals court also rejected an argument that Box might have had a concussion when he was first interviewed by a Washington State Patrol trooper. The defendant’s appeal argued that the trooper omitted facts that could have shown Box had a concussion and that his lawyer should have pursued a hearing on that issue.

“Because no evidence suggests that Box had a concussion, Box cannot show ineffective assistance of counsel,” the appeals court wrote.

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