Vern Alexander Henderson pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Dec. 27 at his arraignment. He was charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving while license suspended/revoked in the first degree and violation of ignition interlock. (Renton Police Department)

Vern Alexander Henderson pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Dec. 27 at his arraignment. He was charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving while license suspended/revoked in the first degree and violation of ignition interlock. (Renton Police Department)

He’s had at least 7 DUIs, now a young woman is dead

The Renton man was allegedly driving under the influence of PCP when his car hit a bicyclist.

Vern Alexander Henderson, 44, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Dec. 27 at his arraignment.

He was charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving while license suspended/revoked in the first degree and violation of ignition interlock.

Henderson was originally charged with vehicular assault and reckless driving. His charges were amended at his December arraignment.

His bail was increased to $750,000. He is currently in custody at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Around 6 p.m. Dec. 7 Henderson was driving on Rainier Avenue South when his weaving and speeding caught the attention of at least two drivers, charging documents stated.

The documents added he veered into the shared center turn lane to pass traffic. Henderson was reportedly going highway speeds. Witnesses told officers they believed he was traveling 50 to 60 miles per hour.

The 24-year-old female victim, identified as Taylor Marie Goehring, was riding bicycles with her boyfriend on the sidewalk, the documents stated.

While her boyfriend stopped to fix his bike, documents stated Goehring rode on and entered the center turn lane with the intent to turn left into a parking lot.

Henderson reportedly slammed into her without attempting to slow down and continued driving with her in his windshield for several yards before stopping. When he finally came to a stop, Goehring flew into the street.

Charging documents originally stated she suffered severe injuries including multiple fractures and traumatic brain injury. She was transported to Harborview Medical Center.

On Dec. 19, charging documents updated that Goehring died from her injuries.

When officers arrived on scene, they found Henderson still in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

Charging documents stated “he showed several signs of being impaired by drugs.”

Henderson denied taking any medications or using drugs.

The documents added a cigarette was found in his vehicle that appeared to have been dipped in something and Henderson had a black, oily substance spattered on his face.

He also reportedly told officers that he usually wears glasses but was not using any, the documents stated.

A Drug Recognition Expert performed a full exam on Henderson and ruled out alcohol. The DRE said it appeared Henderson was under the influence of a narcotic drug and a dissociative anesthetic (PCP).

The charging documents stated, a sock with what appeared to be Methamphetamine was found on his person.

The substance was collected and tested positive for Methamphetamine.

Charging documents stated Henderson was driving with a suspended license and was to have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. His vehicle was not equipped with the device.

At the time of his arrest, he had an alcohol monitoring device on his ankle, documents stated.

Henderson is a repeat driving under the influence offender and a convicted felon, according to charging documents.

Charging documents stated he has four DUI arrests/convictions within the last 10 years and others outside the 10 year time frame.

His criminal history includes: DUI twice in 2017, DUI twice in 2010, DUI/VUCSA/reckless endangerment in 2010, DUI in 2004, DUI in 1999, driving with a suspended license in 2010, twice in 2008, twice in 2003, 1999, twice in 1998, twice in 2997, three times in 1996 and 1995; failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk in 2014, VUCSA (possession of cocaine) and harassment.

Henderson was most recently arrested for DUI and violation of ignition interlock device in Dec. 2017 and is pending trial in Seattle Municipal Court. That trial is currently scheduled for Feb. 12, 2019.

This story originally appeared in the Renton Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.

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