A man who intentionally plowed his car into two pedestrians and narrowly missed striking a third in Bothell last year was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison.
Eli Aldinger, now 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault for the April 20, 2018, rampage through downtown Bothell. At the time, he told police he ran down the pedestrians because he hated his job and didn’t want to go to work.
King County Superior Court Judge Ken Schubert said Aldinger’s “deliberateness and callousness … is just shocking.” But the judge acknowledged Aldinger was suffering from long-term insomnia and mental-health issues that weren’t diagnosed until his after he was arrested and jailed. Aldinger also endured extreme abuse as a child, the judge said.
“While the mental-health issues you’re facing are sad and tragic, in one twisted sense they help explain what happened here,” said Schubert. ” … On the other hand, we have victims who are living with this for the rest of their lives.”
According to court records:
Aldinger was on his way to work at McMenamins Anderson School restaurant in Bothell when he decided “to run over some pedestrians as a way to get out of going to work and change the trajectory of his life,” say charging papers.
A 44-year-old woman and her husband were in a crosswalk at 101st Avenue Northeast and Main Street when Aldinger sped his Toyota Camry up to about 40 mph and slammed into the woman. A block west, at Main Street and Bothell Way Northeast, a 43-year-old woman was struck in a crosswalk after the Camry intentionally swerved to hit her.
The Camry, which then turned north, nearly struck a 46-year-old man at Bothell Way Northeast and Northeast 183rd Street.
A Bothell police officer heard screeching tires, saw the man running to get out of the way and watched as the Camry continued north before stopping at Northeast 185th Street.
The officer and a witness used their vehicles to block the Camry.
“Eli said he was looking forward to spending ‘a few years in a room.’ He seemed almost relieved to be going to jail,” the arresting officer wrote in charging documents. “ … He said this was ‘a life experience’ and he was just trying to take it all in. I asked him if it was worth it and he said, ‘Yeah.’ ”