A 21-year-old Seattle man was charged Monday with felony hit-and-run, accused of speeding through an intersection on Aurora Avenue North last week and fatally striking a pedestrian who was crossing against the light, according to King County prosecutors.
Carlos Meza was arrested walking back to his house in Fremont with an open bottle of vodka two hours after Wednesday’s fatal collision, charging papers say. He remains jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail, jail records show. Prosecutors are awaiting the results of toxicology tests on Meza’s blood and could charge him with vehicular homicide at a later date, a spokesman said.
Killed in the collision was 70-year-old Richard Hamilton, who died from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the charges:
Just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, a male pedestrian jaywalked across Aurora Avenue North from west to east in the crosswalk at North 125th Street against the red traffic light. A witness later told police the pedestrian made it across the southbound lanes and had stepped from behind a southbound vehicle that was stopped in the two-way left turn lane when he was struck by a northbound vehicle. The witness estimated the car was going at least 50 mph and showed no signs of slowing or stopping after hitting the pedestrian.
The pedestrian died at the scene.
Other witnesses reported the vehicle involved in the crash was last seen turning east onto North 130th Street. Soon after, Seattle police officers found a Toyota Corolla with significant front-end damage abandoned in the 1300 block of North 131st Street. The car was resting against a fence with its gear shift in reverse, with the driver’s side door open and the engine running, the charges say.
Officers tracked down the car’s registered owner in Lakewood. He told officers his son, who regularly drove the car, had texted him that he had “messed up,” had hit someone and had fled the scene, according to the charges. The father, who encouraged his son to return to the crash scene, provided police with his son’s address in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
Police later learned the driver had also contacted his girlfriend and requested she pick him up from where the car was later found abandoned. She dropped him off near his residence, according to the charges.
Seattle police arrested Meza just after 10 p.m. Wednesday as he was walking to his house in the 1400 block of North 54th Street. He was carrying an open vodka bottle when he was arrested and an officer trained as a drug-recognition expert concluded Meza was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, charging papers say. Meza’s blood was drawn and toxicology results are pending.