Police respond to a wrong way crash April 11 on Highway 525 in Lynnwood after a police chase. (Photo provided by Washington State Department of Transportation)

Police respond to a wrong way crash April 11 on Highway 525 in Lynnwood after a police chase. (Photo provided by Washington State Department of Transportation)

Bail set at $2M in wrong-way crash that killed Lynnwood woman, 83

The Kenmore man, 37, fled police, crashed into a GMC Yukon and killed Trudy Slanger on Highway 525, according to court papers.

EVERETT — A Kenmore man was booked into jail Tuesday for investigation of first-degree murder, almost two weeks after he was accused of fleeing from police and killing an elderly Lynnwood woman in a crash.

On Wednesday, the suspect made his first appearance in court. He appeared in a wheelchair via video conference from the jail.

Everett District Court Judge Pro Tem David Ruzumna found probable cause for first-degree murder, vehicular assault, attempting to elude police, first-degree kidnapping, taking a motor vehicle without permission and fourth-degree assault.

The Washington State Patrol had initially said troopers planned to arrest Robert Rowland for investigation of second-degree murder. This week, jail records listed the charge as aggravated murder — which carries a life sentence — but prosecutors did not push for what’s known as an aggravating factor in court Wednesday.

Ruzumna set bail at $2 million, with no objection from the defense.

In 2023, prosecutors charged Rowland with first-degree assault for allegedly shooting at a stranger in an apartment complex parking lot on Highway 99. In the charging papers from the case, deputy prosecutor Isaac Wells wrote the man’s criminal history “mostly has non-violent offenses, but this incident appears to (show) he is escalating.”

Last month, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Jon Scott issued a bench warrant when Rowland failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing in the assault case.

On April 10, a day before the crash, authorities tried serving a warrant for Rowland’s arrest on separate domestic violence assault allegations, according to a police report. Rowland jumped out of a window and fled. Police looked for him that night, but couldn’t find him.

Around noon the next day, Rowland punched a woman in the face at the Tulalip Resort Casino and kidnapped her friend, a 35-year-old Monroe woman, the police report states. Authorities searched for the suspect.

At about 6 p.m., the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force held a briefing in downtown Everett on Rowland. Officials believed he was near Merrill Creek Parkway and 23rd Drive W, according to court documents. With this information, the task force canvassed the south Everett neighborhood.

While driving on Veralene Way, a deputy noticed Rowland in a GMC Sierra, according to police. The pickup had been reported stolen out of Bothell, according to police. The Monroe woman was in the car.

Rowland parked the Sierra at the 7-Eleven at 7500 Hardeson Road. Several members of the task force were already stationed in the parking lot, according to the police report. But because the parking lot was busy, authorities didn’t try to arrest him there, police said.

Rowland eventually left the parking lot and officers followed, but didn’t try to stop him. He reportedly pulled over on Glenwood Avenue, just north of Merrill Creek Parkway. While he was there, police hatched plans to pin Rowland’s Sierra.

But while police coordinated the maneuver, Rowland sped away, according to court papers. Police pursued.

Officers in marked and unmarked cars with lights and sirens tried to stop Rowland, police said. The Monroe woman later told police she begged him to stop.

The suspect briefly lost police, but authorities reportedly found him again driving east on 112th Street SW near Paine Field. Again, he sped away, according to police.

Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies pursued Rowland south on Beverly Park Road. The suspect turned onto southbound Highway 525. When Highway 525 crossed with Highway 99, he got off, made a U-turn and got back on Highway 525 going the other direction, according to police. Deputies continued pursuing.

Rowland crossed a grass median to drive south on northbound Highway 525. Once he started going the wrong way, police reported terminating the pursuit.

The suspect got excited when he saw police stopped pursuing, the Monroe woman later reported. He was looking for police behind him before crashing into a GMC Yukon, according to court documents. He was driving the wrong way for less than a minute before crashing. The woman thought he had time to swerve out of the Yukon’s way, but he didn’t.

Slanger, who was driving the Yukon, was pronounced dead at the scene. She was 83.

Rowland suffered injuries and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to police. The Monroe woman was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

Police believe Rowland was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the crash. A judge approved a search warrant to get a blood sample.

Slanger was a mother of three children and a grandmother to at least five kids. She was married to her husband, Gary, for 61 years until he died in 2019, according to his obituary.

While her husband was in dental school, she worked as an orthodontic assistant in Seattle, according to her obituary.

“Their partnership was a testament to their friendship and unwavering commitment to each other,” the obituary reads.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commerical vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cascade’s Mia Walker, right, cries and hugs teammate Allison Gehrig after beating Gig Harbor on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors Wilson, Tripp power Cascade softball past Gig Harbor

The pair combined for three homers as the Bruins won the Class 3A state softball opening-round game.

The original Mountlake Terrace City Council, Patricia Neibel bottom right, with city attorney, sign incorporation ordinance in 1954. (Photo provided by the City of Mountlake Terrace)
Patricia Neibel, last inaugural MLT council member, dies at 97

The first woman on the council lived by the motto, “Why not me?” — on the council, at a sheriff’s office in Florida, or at a leper colony in Thailand.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.