A felon wanted on a warrant apparently thought he was being pursued by police on Wednesday night when he lost control of his SUV, killing a 44-year-old woman outside the Muckleshoot Casino, according to Auburn police.

Share story

A 34-year-old felon wanted on a state Department of Corrections warrant apparently thought he was being pursued by police on Wednesday night when he lost control of his SUV and ran up onto a sidewalk, killing a 44-year-old woman outside the Muckleshoot Casino, according to Auburn police.

Around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, an Auburn police officer got a report of a burglary and pulled onto Auburn Way South near Poplar Street Southeast and activated the lights on his patrol car, said Cmdr. Steve Stocker.

The officer pulled in behind an SUV, but instead of moving to the right to allow the patrol car to pass, the SUV continued west on Auburn Way at high speed before crashing less than a mile away, he said.

The driver of the SUV lost control of the vehicle, which left the roadway and fatally struck the woman, who was walking on a sidewalk outside the casino, said Stocker.

This week, save 75% on select subscriptions.

The SUV driver was ejected from the vehicle, and the force of impact hurled his body into a light pole, Stocker said. The SUV flipped, landing on top of another vehicle in the casino parking lot.

The pedestrian died at the scene, he said.

“That’s the assumption,” that the man thought he was being pursued by a police officer, Stocker said. “It’s kind of a sad deal.”

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the woman as Rachella Partman, 44, and determined she died from multiple blunt-force injuries.

Partman’s family — who spelled her first name Reachella — released a statement through a representative, calling her death a tragedy and saying the family “is devastated by the loss of their mother and partner.”

“As you can imagine, it will take some time to come to grips with this horrible loss,” the statement said.

A gofundme page has been set up to help Partman’s family with funeral expenses: https://www.gofundme.com/32shdrmk

The Seattle Times is not naming the SUV driver because he was booked on the Department of Corrections (DOC) warrant and hasn’t yet gone before a judge to determine if probable cause exists to hold him in the death of the pedestrian.

The SUV driver was treated at Harborview Medical Center and later booked into the King County Jail, said Anna Aylward, the assistant secretary of community corrections for theDOC.

According to Aylward and Jeremy Barclay, DOC communications director, the SUV driver was released from prison in October 2011 after serving time for first-degree manslaughter.

Since his release, he has violated his community supervision 17 times and was last taken into custody Feb. 1 for failing to report to his community custody officer, Barclay said.

He was released from confinement on Feb. 22 and registered his residence in Sedro-Woolley, but in a phone conversation the next day he told his community custody officer he didn’t want to stay there, according to Barclay. When the officer went to the man’s registered address and found he wasn’t there, a warrant was issued for his arrest on Feb. 23, he said.

“When you see an innocent bystander killed, it’s just heartbreaking,” Aylward said.