A Black Diamond man who was behind the wheel when his friend died during a “car surfing” incident earlier this year will not serve any jail time.
A Black Diamond man who was behind the wheel when his friend was killed while “car surfing” at Kent-Meridian High School earlier this year will not have to serve any jail time.
Tyler Reber, 19, pleaded guilty Friday morning to reckless driving and was sentenced to 364 days, but the judge suspended the sentence.
Reber was also ordered to serve 24 months of probation, plus 100 hours of community service, attend aggressive driving school and not drive for one year, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said that his office could have charged Reber with vehicular homicide initially, but they charged him with the gross misdemeanor at the urging of Lupo Benson’s family.
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“It’s very tragic … They were good friends,” Donohoe said when charges were filed in August.
Had Reber been charged with vehicular homicide, he could have faced nearly two years of prison time in connection with Benson’s death.
Reckless driving is defined under state law as driving a motor vehicle with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. The gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail.
Benson, a senior at Kent-Meridian High School, had asked Reber if he could ride on the hood of Reber’s SUV. Reber and a female friend inside the vehicle waited for Benson to climb on and indicate he was ready before Reber backed out of his parking stall, charges said.
According to King County prosecutors, Reber was seen on a school security video driving erratically around the parking lot with Benson on the hood.
At one point, Reber made a sharp left turn, causing Benson, 18, to lose his grip, fly off the hood and slam his head on the pavement, causing a catastrophic brain injury, charging documents said. Police estimated the SUV was driving 16 to 20 mph when Benson was thrown off.
Reber immediately stopped the vehicle after Benson fell off. He and the female passenger rushed to the injured man, prosecutors said.
Benson died at Harborview Medical Center the following day.
Reber doesn’t have a criminal history or history of traffic infractions, nor was there any evidence he was impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, charges say.