Miriam Robinson, 28, of Albany, Oregon, was killed in the Sunday afternoon crash and three other vehicles were struck by crash debris but none of the drivers was hurt.

Share story

A Tulalip man suspected of causing a wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 that killed a passenger in another vehicle has six previous drunken-driving convictions and was driving with a suspended license, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Aaron Gentry, 56, was arrested Sunday on investigation of vehicular homicide after the State Patrol said he drove the wrong way on I-5 near Arlington and slammed into another car head-on, killing an Oregon woman.

On Monday, a Snohomish County judge set bail at $500,000 for Gentry, who troopers say had an open container of alcohol in the 1991 Ford Explorer he was driving at the time of the collision, jail and court records show. He is also being held in the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of driving with a suspended license and failing to have an ignition-interlock device on his vehicle.

An ignition interlock analyzes a driver’s breath and prevents a car from being started if alcohol is detected.

It appears the Explorer’s registered owner is one of Gentry’s neighbors.

According to the probable-cause statement outlining the State Patrol’s case against Gentry:

Just before 4 p.m. Sunday, the Patrol’s communications center began receiving multiple 911 calls from drivers who reported a vehicle had driven north onto I-5 from the southbound off-ramp at 116th Street Northeast in Marysville. The vehicle, driven at 100 mph, first struck construction barrels on the off-ramp, then hit several vehicles as it continued north in the southbound lanes, the statement says.

Additional 911 callers reported the wrong-way vehicle struck a 1997 Toyota Corolla head-on, one mile north of Arlington, according to the State Patrol. The Explorer rolled over and landed on top of a cable barrier and the Corolla came to rest next to the barrier.

Killed in the crash was Miriam Robinson, 28, of Albany, Oregon, who was a passenger in the Corolla. The Corolla’s 30-year-old driver and her son received minor injuries. Three other vehicles were struck by crash debris but none of the drivers was hurt, according to a State Patrol memo.

The probable-cause statement says Gentry was the only occupant of the Explorer and a trooper saw open containers of alcohol inside the SUV. Gentry was pulled from the Explorer and put on a backboard, then was placed under arrest and taken to a nearby hospital, where his blood was drawn under a search warrant, the statement says.

According to the State Patrol, Gentry told a trooper “He drank a lot,” but Gentry’s speech was so slurred, the trooper had trouble understanding him, says the statement.

The State Patrol says Gentry was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. He has two convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) in the past 10 years, and four convictions before that, the patrol says.

In April 2016, Gentry was arrested in Snohomish County for reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and hit-and-run on an unattended vehicle, court records say.

That November, Gentry was arrested for DUI, driving with a suspended license and operating a vehicle without an interlock device in Skagit County. His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 for drivers 21 and older. He pleaded guilty in July 2017 and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years of probation, according to court records.

In January, Gentry acknowledged that the Skagit County conviction was a violation of his probation in the Snohomish County case, according to court records. The judge ordered Gentry — who was then in an alcohol-treatment program — to serve only one day in jail due to the progress he had made in treatment, the records say.

On May 30, the Snohomish County case was closed after a judge found that Gentry had complied with all of the court’s conditions.