Man pleads innocent in Lynnwood hit-and-run death

EVERETT — As the bleeding and battered man lie in the middle of Highway 99, the person driving the car that hit him circled back around and slowed past the man’s crumpled body before fleeing.

Prosecutors allege that the driver, Michael Thao, later tried to cover up what he’d done. He asked a friend to conceal his heavily damaged car with a tarp, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote in court papers. He reportedly told the man he’d been in a confrontation in Seattle and some guys jumped on his Ford Fusion.

Detectives say the damage was caused when Thao plowed into Youngkoo Kim, 62, on Aug. 9 while the man crossed the highway with his wife and adult son. The family was visiting the area and had stopped to find a convenience store.

Kim died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Prosecutors accused Thao of running from the scene of the fatal collision. He made a brief court appearance Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to the felony charge. He was being held on $250,000 bail.

Thao has felony convictions for drugs and property crimes. He also was convicted last year of driving with a suspended license.

Police say an observant woman helped them identify Thao. She had noticed a car with a broken windshield and dents on the front bumper and car’s roof. The rear window also was shattered. She spotted what she thought was blood on the roof and rear bumper. Later that evening, she saw that someone had covered the car with a blue tarp.

She searched the Internet and discovered information about a fatal crash in Lynnwood about three miles from where she spotted the car. She called Lynnwood police.

Detectives searched the covered car and then Thao’s bedroom. They found shards of glass in his room and a bloodied shirt. They arrested him a couple of days later at an apartment in Shoreline.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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