A second person has died after a high-speed crash on Aurora Avenue North on Friday afternoon, when a Nissan Sentra plowed into a group of four pedestrians and the driver attempted to flee the scene. Seattle police believe the Sentra’s 23-year-old driver was high on meth, according to the probable cause statement outlining the case against her.
Police say the driver also claimed the crash was intentional and she had her eyes closed, the statement says.
One of the pedestrians, identified Monday by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office as 28-year-old Rebecca Richman, died at the scene. Officials also confirmed Monday that a second pedestrian, 26-year-old Michael Richman, had died from his injuries. A Seattle police officer wrote in a probable cause statement shortly after the crash that medics had performed CPR on the injured man, but “it is unknown if he will survive.”
Two other male pedestrians were also taken to the hospital.
Both Rebecca and Michael Richman died Friday from multiple blunt-force injuries, the medical examiner’s office said.
On Saturday, the driver refused to leave her cell in the King County Jail for her first court appearance, when a judge found probable cause to hold her on investigation of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run, according to prosecutors. (Criminal suspects who have not been charged with a crime have the right to waive their presence during first appearance.) Her bail was set at $500,000 on Monday. Prosecutors expect to file criminal charges on Wednesday.
According to the probable cause statement:
The first 911 call reporting the collision on Aurora Avenue North at North 40th Street was made at 1:03 p.m. Friday. Witnesses told police a blue Nissan Sentra had been driving at high speed in the right-most bus lane headed north on Aurora when it hit the curb and went airborne; the crumpled wreckage came to rest in the left-most, northbound lane. The female pedestrian who was killed was found on the sidewalk on the northeast corner of the intersection. A low brick wall on the same corner was impacted, and signs and poles on the east side of Aurora also appeared to be newly knocked down.
The Sentra’s driver crawled out of the vehicle, picked up some belongings and ran away. Based on witness descriptions, the driver was changing clothes and “carrying a bush” when she was arrested a few blocks away after a foot pursuit and struggle. Officers noted her bizarre, nonsensical statements, droopy eyes, and refusal to identify herself or perform field-sobriety tests, the statement says. Police were able to identify her and obtained a search warrant to draw her blood.
The driver’s last known address is in Brier, Snohomish County.
According to SDOT data, there were 39 crashes involving pedestrians and drivers that resulted in serious injuries or deaths during the first half of 2019 — the highest number since 2010. Seven of those crashes occurred on Aurora Avenue North. Since then, at least three additional crashes on Aurora Avenue North have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, according to Seattle Times research.
Staff reporters Michelle Baruchman and Heidi Groover contributed to this report.