MARYSVILLE — Many delivery trucks whooshed by a police sergeant’s cruiser on the freeway early one morning in July 2017, near downtown Marysville.
But the sergeant was searching for one box truck in particular, with an attached refrigeration unit and a bright stripe running along one side. A meat truck with matching markings showed up right on time, around 5 a.m.
About two weeks before the sergeant’s stakeout, the truck had been caught on security camera at the Fourth Street on-ramp to I-5, according to new charging papers.
The truck hit pedestrian Scott Williams at 4:30 a.m. July 6, 2017. A witness, who was smoking a cigarette in the grass along the freeway, rushed over to the injured man. A couple in a car stopped to help, too, when they saw an object in the road and realized it was a human.
The truck driver did not stop.
Williams, 52, suffered severe head trauma. He died hours later at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. Police believe he was hit in the crosswalk.
Truck driver Randy J. Keith, 62, of Pierce County, was charged in late February with hit and run in the fatal crash that occurred almost two years ago.
He pleaded not guilty Thursday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Keith had been pulled over by the sergeant at 5 a.m. July 18, when his box truck exited into Marysville. Police noted a crack on the front driver’s side above the headlights. Keith reported the damage to the truck was old. He reportedly told police he was on his way to a meat delivery at Tulalip Resort Casino, and that he only made deliveries on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The crash had happened on a Thursday.
For a while, Keith was let go. Another officer spoke with the owner of the meat business, who confirmed one of his delivery trucks was in Marysville that day. Officers tracked down Keith again. He agreed to an interview at the police station, charging papers say. This time, he told police Thursday was, in fact, a day when he would make deliveries in the Marysville area. The morning of the crash, he’d stopped at a Taco Time off Fourth Street, west of the freeway.
Detectives told him his truck struck and killed a man. Keith replied that he was “flabbergasted,” according to the charges.
Eventually, Keith admitted he knew he’d hit something on the on-ramp, but he thought it was a rock, the court papers say. He reported he panicked. Keith looked in his mirrors, didn’t see anything and didn’t think he’d hit anyone, according to his report.
So he kept driving.
“Maybe I’m OK,” he recalled thinking.
He drove north to Arlington to keep making his rounds. At the end of the interview, Keith was arrested. He posted $10,000 bond that week.
Prosecutors did not charge Keith with driving recklessly or under the influence. He had no criminal record.
Later on the morning of the crash, Keith heard over the radio that a man had been hit in Marysville. He reported he knew “the possibility did exist pretty highly” that he’d hit that man.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.