Woman charged with vehicular homicide, admits daily meth use

EVERETT — Mario Urbano often covered his Toyota Celica with a tarp in cold weather.

That is what he was doing around 9 p.m. Dec. 8 in front of his home in the 3800 block of Grand Avenue when he was struck and killed.

Prosecutors believe a 30-year-old Everett woman is to blame. They filed a vehicular homicide charge against Cheryl Ann Turner, alleging she was the driver of a Jeep Cherokee that slammed into Urbano and was under “the combined influence” of drugs and alcohol at the time.

Turner pleaded not guilty in Snohomish County Superior Court earlier this week. Her bail was set at $100,000.

A neighbor felt his house shake, court papers said.

He discovered that the Jeep had crossed his lawn and crashed into the front steps of his house. Turner reportedly apologized, telling the witness that she was texting while driving. Another witness reported that she was talking on her phone as she got out of the Jeep.

Urbano’s son found him on the side of the street and tried to give him CPR, court papers said. It was too late.

Turner allegedly told a police officer that she never saw Urbano until she noticed his son doing CPR.

A second parked car — a Lincoln Continental — also had been damaged.

Inside the Jeep, police found a hypodermic needle cap and tin foil, a bottle of Fireball Whiskey and a can of malt liquor.

The defendant was taken to the hospital where a court-approved blood sample was taken.

At the hospital, a detective asked the defendant where she had been heading that night. She reportedly said she normally smokes marijuana before bedtime but had run out, so she was on her way to smoke marijuana at a friend’s house.

“She also admitted she used methamphetamine daily before going to work,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote in charging papers.

Prosecutors frequently don’t file criminal charges in vehicular homicide cases for many months while police investigate and toxicology reports come back. As a result, defendants often are released from jail pending trial.

In this case, the decision was made to file early to try to prevent the suspect’s release, given her reported daily drug use and concerns for community safety, Darrow said.

The police investigation is continuing.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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