After being asked what led to the crash, the man told an investigator that he was “driving like an idiot” and had been drinking, charging papers say.
A 36-year-old man has been charged with vehicular homicide for allegedly driving intoxicated and causing a three-vehicle collision that killed a woman in Renton last Wednesday.
On Monday, King County prosecutors charged Mario Luis Cuellar, of Seattle, for allegedly driving through a red light at an intersection and striking the woman’s vehicle, charging papers say. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified her as 58-year-old Verda January. She died at the scene.
According to the probable-cause statement, which outlines the police’s case against him, Cuellar was speeding in a four-door Pontiac Sunfire eastbound on South Grady Way when he T-boned the driver’s side of January’s northbound vehicle.
Upon impact, her car crashed into a third vehicle. That driver suffered minor injuries, police said.
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While responding to the crash, an officer checked on Cueller while he was in the driver seat of the Pontiac and said he was conscious and appeared to be dazed, the statement says. Moments later, the same officer noticed Cueller had left the vehicle.
The officer spotted him walking about 200 feet away with a backpack, the statement says. Upon contact, police said Cuellar struggled to maintain his balance, and he and his vehicle smelled of intoxicants, police said. He was placed into custody.
While investigating, officers found a 22-ounce can of beer in the front, passenger-side floorboard of Cuellar’s car, the statement says.
After being asked what led to the crash, Cuellar told an officer that he was “driving like an idiot” and had been drinking, the statement says.
A mental-health counselor later told an officer that Cueller had been involuntarily committed in July due to a drug-induced psychosis, and that he has a history of methamphetamine and heroin use, the statement says.
Cueller’s arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County prosecutor. Cueller’s bail is set at $750,000.
Cueller has been investigated for numerous traffic-related incidents in the past, including a 2008 DUI and numerous instances of allegedly driving with a suspended license, according to charging documents.