Nathaniel Allen reads a statement to the court during his sentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Nathaniel Allen reads a statement to the court during his sentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Man sentenced for Lynnwood motorcycle crash that killed his wife

Nathaniel Allen was riding home with his wife in April 2020 when he lost control of his motorcycle. Dawn Allen was 38.

EVERETT — Nathaniel Allen still doesn’t know what went wrong the night the love of his life was killed.

Whether it was one drink too many, or 10 miles an hour too fast, he knows what he thought was safe for him and his wife clearly was not, he recalled in court documents.

“Nate has to wake up every morning, knowing his wife is not there, never will be again, and that he is responsible,” his lawyer wrote in court papers.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Miguel Duran sentenced Nathaniel Allen to 1⅔ years in prison Tuesday for crashing his motorcycle while his wife, Dawn Allen, rode with him.

“I sit in judgement solely because of this robe, but I can’t imagine the depths of tragedy that you have felt since the night of this accident,” Duran said in court. “While the loss of Dawn is always going to be felt, I am certain given the 20 years of love that you had together … she would want you to emerge and flourish in life.”

Nathaniel Allen and his wife, Dawn. (Photo provided by Court documents)

Nathaniel Allen and his wife, Dawn. (Photo provided by Court documents)

On the evening of April 8, 2020, the Allens were visiting friends in Seattle. The husband, then 37, “had a few drinks,” but cut himself off because he knew he would be riding home, according to court records.

Later that night, a man riding his Harley-Davidson north on I-5 saw a Suzuki sport motorcycle pass him at a high speed. The motorcycle was going so fast it made the man feel like he was standing still, according to charging papers.

The man estimated the Suzuki was traveling about 115 mph, and driven by another man, later identified as Nathaniel Allen, with a woman in the seat behind him.

The witness saw the motorcycle quickly come up on a car in front of the couple, abruptly brake and veer into the right lane just north of the 164th Street exit, near Lynnwood.

There is a curve in that freeway exit the rider didn’t seem to take into account, the witness reportedly told detectives. Nathaniel Allen kept going straight until the witness couldn’t see the Suzuki’s headlights anymore.

As the witness rode by the curve, he saw dirt and debris in the air, and realized they had crashed. He stopped and called 911.

Washington State Patrol troopers arrived to find Dawn Allen about 120 feet from the motorcycle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The Everett woman was 38.

Nathaniel Allen and his wife, Dawn. (Photo provided by Court documents)

Nathaniel Allen and his wife, Dawn. (Photo provided by Court documents)

Troopers also found the husband groaning in the grass. He had a shattered ankle and fractured his vertebrae, multiple ribs and his tibia, according to court documents. Detectives determined the couple was ejected from the motorcycle. Medics could reportedly smell alcohol on Nathaniel Allen’s breath.

A state crime lab later measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.08, exactly the legal limit. The sample was taken less than two hours after the crash.

In June, the defendant pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide with disregard for the safety of others. Prosecutors originally charged him with vehicular homicide while driving under the influence and reckless driving, which would have meant a longer sentence if convicted.

Both the defense and prosecutors recommended a sentence of 20 months.

“From the defendant’s perspective, he was not driving unusually, and I believe that,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said. “The problem is, that kind of driving is always dangerous.”

The two met 20 years before the crash and married in October 2010. For two decades, they were inseparable, Nathaniel Allen’s lawyers wrote. A photo album provided to the court detailed the life they shared together.

“To see the two of them on their wedding day, with friends and family, it was clear, even though I never met her, how full of life Dawn was,” defense attorney Joshua Doull said in court.

Nathaniel Allen’s mother reads a statement to the court on behalf of her son during his sentencing on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Nathaniel Allen’s mother reads a statement to the court on behalf of her son during his sentencing on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Nathaniel Allen’s family expressed in the courtroom how they felt his wife was one of them.

“To love Nathan was to love Dawn, and to love Dawn was to love Nathan,” his sister said in court. “As painful as it is to look back on one of my last moments with her, I hold in my heart that in life she felt loved.”

The defendant said he was at the mercy of the court, and would accept any sentence.

“I have gone through more pain and loss than anyone should ever experience in a lifetime,” he said in court. “She was the love of my life, and a truly special person that will always be in my heart.”

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @EDHJonTall.

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