An 18-year-old driver was charged with vehicular homicide in the death of a 23-year-old student who was struck on the Montlake Bridge on New Year’s Day, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Kyle S. Dickinson — a senior at Bishop Blanchet High School, a private Seattle school — also was charged with felony hit-and-run and driving without a valid driver’s license. He was released from King County Jail after posting $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 14 at the King County Courthouse.
According to the charges, Dickinson was driving his parents’ car near the University of Washington around 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 when he hit UW student Jared West, who had just left a nearby party and, according to witnesses, was dancing and running in the street just south of the bridge.
Police said last week they received calls from passersby who had seen a man in the bridge’s roadway “swinging around an unknown object and obstructing traffic.”
Dickinson didn’t stop or slow down after striking the pedestrian, prosecutors said. His parents later told police their son — whose learner’s permit expired in 2019 —took the car without their permission.
West, who was scheduled to graduate in June with a degree in construction management, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dickinson later stopped near the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, abandoning the car, which sustained damage “consistent with striking” West, then fled on foot, prosecutors said.
After police contacted Dickinson’s parents and they reached their son, he allegedly told them that “his life was over.” He eventually told them where he was and was later arrested about 1.5 miles north of where he left the car.
Officers later said there were “obvious and immediate signs that he was impaired from alcohol,” though Dickinson denied consuming any alcohol, prosecutors said. Blood toxicology results are pending.
A family friend has since launched a GoFundMe for West’s family, which, as of Wednesday night, had raised more than $39,000.
West’s family said in a statement on the page that he had been “very excited to have a full-time job waiting for him post-graduation.”
“This is absolutely crushing news for all of Jared’s family and large friend network,” his family said. “We are just beginning the grief process. It will not be easy or quick, and we will not be able to do this alone. Your positive thoughts and memories of Jared will help us immensely. … We are so very proud of Jared’s accomplishments and will miss him greatly.”
The family said it would later share details about a celebration of West’s life.