Suspect’s blood-alcohol level tops .30 night of fatal accident

TULALIP — An initial test showed that an Arlington man’s blood-alcohol level was almost four times the legal limit shortly after his pickup truck crashed into Meghan Stivers’ car, killing the Lake Stevens woman.

The man, 45, was booked Wednesday night for investigation of vehicular homicide and attempting to elude police.

He allegedly told a Marysville police detective the night of the crash he had consumed a large amount of alcohol at home before driving to Marysville. A reading at the hospital showed a blood-alcohol level of more than .30, Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Alan Baker wrote in a search warrant filed last month. The legal limit in Washington is .08.

The search warrant provides additional details about the July 29 crash, including what detectives seized from inside the man’s Dodge Ram pickup during an Aug. 16 search of the truck. Investigators say they found an unsealed bottle of Gordon’s citrus-flavored vodka. There was about an inch of liquid left in the bottle, according to court papers. Police also found a bottle of prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure.

The Herald obtained a copy of the search warrant Wednesday morning under state public records laws.

The crash remains under investigation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said Wednesday. She said she didn’t have any additional details to release. Several hours later, the man was booked into the Snohomish County Jail. He could make his first court appearance Thursday.

As of Wednesday, detectives had yet to forward the case to prosecutors for a charging decision. They had been working to reconstruct the crash site and await medical reports.

Marysville police attempted to stop the man around 11:15 p.m. July 29 after receiving reports of a possible drunken driver. The man refused to stop for officers and crashed into two vehicles. No one was injured in those collisions.

A few blocks away the pickup crossed over the eastbound lanes of Marine Drive NE, jumped the sidewalk and struck Stivers’ Mercury Sable. Her car was stopped at the back entrance to the Best Western Hotel on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

Stivers, 26, worked at the hotel while she studied accounting.

Police officers and paramedics attempted to revive her. She died at the scene.

The man’s truck ended up on its side and caught fire. Officers removed the driver from the pickup and the fire was extinguished.

The truck had extensive front end damage. Detectives noted that there weren’t any braking skid marks leading to the crash.

The man was taken to an Everett hospital. That’s where he allegedly told investigators that he’d been drinking before driving to Marysville. The detective reported that the man was “extremely intoxicated.”

The suspect told detectives he thought he was at 100th Street NE and State Avenue — some five miles away from the crash site.

A hospital test showed that the man’s blood-alcohol level was .30. A blood sample was collected at the hospital and sent to the Washington State Patrol crime lab for official testing. Results of that second test haven’t been released by authorities.

Court records from a 2005 drunken driving conviction show that the man had a blood-alcohol reading of .27 after he crashed into the back of a car on Broadway in north Everett. No one was injured in that crash.

A police officer wrote in a report at the time that it took the man more than two minutes to try to pull out his driver’s license and proof of insurance from his wallet.

He was sentenced to a year in jail with all but two days suspended. He was allowed to serve that time at an alternate confinement program at the fairgrounds in Monroe.

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

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