The fatal Oct. 26 car crash in Lake Stevens in which the driver might have been under the influence of methamphetamine. (City of Lake Stevens)

The fatal Oct. 26 car crash in Lake Stevens in which the driver might have been under the influence of methamphetamine. (City of Lake Stevens)

Meth might have played role in fatal Lake Stevens crash

Keith Michael Ryle turned his mustang in front of a pickup, leading to the death of his passenger.

EVERETT — An Everett man might have been under the influence of methamphetamine when he turned his Ford Mustang in front of a pickup truck in Lake Stevens on Oct. 26, causing a crash that ended his passenger’s life.

Keith Michael Ryle, 50, was charged late last week with vehicular homicide.

Ryle told officials that he’d smoked meth prior to the collision, according to documents deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. A court-authorized blood test found a sufficient concentration of the drug to trigger possible side effects, including “erratic driving, unintelligible speech, disorientation and awkward movements,” the prosecutor wrote.

Ryle was driving east on 20th Street SE and turned left at the intersection with 91st Avenue SE. An accident reconstruction showed Ryle’s car crossed in front of an oncoming pickup truck that was traveling a bit over the posted 35 mph speed limit.

A witness told police she was “very surprised” that the Mustang’s driver had attempted the maneuver because the truck was so near the intersection, Darrow wrote.

Greggory E. Solomon, 53, was in the front passenger seat in Ryle’s car. He died at the scene. The crash involved such force that gouge marks were left in the roadway, consistent with the vehicles’ frames striking the pavement, Darrow wrote.

Ryle’s speech and behavior after the crash led investigators to suspect he was driving while impaired. He cried at the hospital when told that his passenger had died and that he was under arrest, court papers said. He got the news at the same time he learned that a judge had authorized a blood test for drugs.

When booked into the Snohomish County Jail, Ryle allegedly told a corrections officer that he’d smoked meth immediately prior to the crash.

Suspected methamphetamine, heroin and pills were found hidden inside a large felt-tipped marker that the man reportedly was carrying at the time of the crash. Jail staff searched the pen knowing that some people empty the oversize markers of ink and use them as places to hide drugs.

Ryle has been jailed since the crash on $300,000 bail. He has a 2008 DUI conviction. Prior felonies include meth possession and auto theft.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

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