A $750,000 arrest warrant has been issued for a Seattle man who is accused of crashing a stolen pickup into a Belltown apartment building in September, killing one of his passengers and critically injuring another after allegedly speeding through alleys to elude a police officer.
King County prosecutors charged Curtis E. Jones, 46, with second-degree murder, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment and driving with a suspended license July 12, nearly 10 months after the crash that led to the death of Sheila Helvie, 57.
Jones and both passengers were found unconscious inside the cab of a stolen Toyota Tacoma early on Sept. 18, but Jones’ injuries aren’t detailed in charging documents.
Helvie, who never regained consciousness, died 22 days later, and front-seat passenger, Jermaine Nooner, 25, suffered a broken arm and leg and spent months recovering from his injuries, charging papers say. Another motorist suffered soft-tissue injuries, the papers say.
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A blood draw at the hospital determined that Jones had cocaine and marijuana in his system and a blood alcohol content of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08, say the papers, which note that crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia were found in the truck’s cab.
A Seattle police detective was unable to locate Jones in April and his whereabouts are unknown, according to the charges.
Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said investigations by the department’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is “an exhaustive process” and suspects involved in serious injury collisions aren’t typically arrested until a forensic analysis of the evidence is completed.
“It’s not a mystery who he is — just where he is,” Whitcomb said.
Just before 6 a.m. on Sept. 18, a patrol officer stopped at a red light at Battery Street and Second Avenue and saw someone in the pickup, which was stopped in front of him, toss “two or three white bindle-like items out the passenger window,” charging papers say. The officer activated his patrol lights to stop the Toyota for littering, then chirped his siren three times when the driver failed to pull over, the papers say.
At first, the driver “was obeying traffic laws,” but then blew a red light and began driving at “freeway speeds” in an apparent attempt to elude the officer, who stopped following the Toyota, charging papers say. Emerging from an alley between Third and Fourth avenues, the pickup struck another vehicle, then crashed into an apartment building on the north side of Wall Street, the papers say.
All three occupants were trapped inside the pickup, which was reported stolen about two hours after the crash, the charges say.
Jones’ criminal history includes six drug convictions, 17 convictions for driving with a suspended license, burglary, promoting prostitution, theft and first-degree negligent driving, which was amended from a driving under the influence charge in 2000, the papers say.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org