King County sheriff’s detectives say 50-year-old Michael Russell was riding his bicycle when he was struck from behind at 60 mph and flew over the car that hit him before landing on a Covington road earlier this month.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene just after 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, they found other people performing CPR on Russell. Thrown 150 feet, Russell died in the 18300 block of Southeast Wax Road. Bicycle parts and groceries were found strewn in a “V” pattern from the point of impact, according to detectives.
Earlier this week, King County prosecutors charged Kyle Landry, 31, with vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run, accusing him of driving recklessly and speeding from the scene, dragging Russell’s bicycle nearly a mile before it dislodged a block from the Covington house where he lives with his father and stepmother.
“The defendant drove 12 blocks fleeing the scene with sparks flying from the bike being dragged under the car. This was captured on a residential security video,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim wrote in charging papers. “The bike dislodged and the defendant was seen speeding away at ’60 mph’ by a witness on a porch.”
Landry — who covered his car with blankets and removed the home-security cameras he had installed weeks earlier — turned himself in to sheriff’s detectives two days after Russell was killed, the charges say. He remains jailed at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent in lieu of $200,000 bail.
When detectives later searched Landry’s 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier, the charges say they found grains of white rice along the base of the windshield and on the floorboards, likely from the grocery items Russell had been carrying.
Police say Landry admitted he knew he was dragging a bicycle when he went home but hoped it would all “go away.”
According to the charges:
Tire tracks indicate Russell was biking east on Southeast Wax Road, riding between the white fog line and the edge of the roadway, when he was hit.
Detectives found several pieces of a car’s headlight that included a parts number, which was used to determine it came from a Chevrolet Cavalier. They also found Russell’s bike in the 24100 block of 193rd Place Southeast, a block from Landry’s house. After learning Landry drives a Cavalier, a detective went to his house on Nov. 8 and saw a vehicle covered with blankets parked beside the house. A neighbor mentioned he had seen Landry remove home-security cameras, which the neighbor thought odd since Landry had just installed them.
That afternoon, the detective stopped a car coming from Landry’s house and it turned out his parents were inside; they said they learned of the bicyclist’s death from the TV news and thought Landry might have been involved. They also told the detective they had been attempting to contact Landry but he wasn’t answering his phone.
Seven hours later, Landry turned himself in.
In an interview with detectives, Landry said he was driving home from the store and looked down to fiddle with the radio when he hit what he thought was a trash can, the charges say. He heard a scraping sound and later stopped his car, thinking his bumper had fallen off but instead discovered a bicycle. He claimed he didn’t know if he hit a person, got scared and drove home, then went to bed and hoped nothing would come of it.
After detectives impounded Landry’s car, they found significant damage to the vehicle. Data from the car’s airbag control module showed the speed at the time of the collision was 62 mph, almost twice the posted 35 mph speed limit, and that the brakes had not been applied.
“[A]ny reasonable person would have known they struck a person due to the overwhelming evidence that shows the bicyclist interacting with the hood, windshield and roof of the vehicle, not to mention the rice that was being carried by the bicyclist found inside the vehicle,” the charges say. “… Kyle stopped when the bicycle came dislodged from his vehicle and saw it was in fact a bicycle, again any reasonable person would know if there is a bicycle, there must have been a bicyclist.”