Michael Brooks, 53, was killed in a head-on collision Tuesday. A close friend said the restaurant manager left an impression on those around him with his enthusiasm.

Share story

A close friend describes Michael Brooks as a natural magnet for people.

Todd Miller said he spent every working weekday of the past four years with 53-year-old Brooks, a Maple Valley resident who was killed in a head-on collision near Issaquah Tuesday. The two ran a Microsoft corporate dining facility in Redmond while both raised young families.

Miller said Brooks, a husband and father of two, touched the lives of hundreds of people with his passion and warmth.

“You can imagine being at a company the size of Microsoft — we had a lot of people there,” he said. “Mike was a big impact on a lot of people that came across his path.”

Miller said he and Brooks each had history in the food and restaurant business, Brooks having worked as a manager at Crystal Mountain Resort before Microsoft. He said Brooks had opened a few different corporate cafes for Microsoft, and was instrumental in developing new dining programs with the company.

“He was very enthusiastic about everything he did, and very gregarious,” Miller said. “Someone that people were drawn to, not only because of his humor and his being bigger than life, but he had a way of making people want to pay attention and listen to what he had to say.”

Outside of work, Miller said Brooks was a great father who was involved in a lot of activities with his kids.

King County sheriff’s investigators said a 27-year-old man was driving erratically and veered over the median on Issaquah-Hobart Road before colliding with a car driven by Brooks.

The man was booked into the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent for investigation of vehicular homicide, and was expected to be released late Wednesday pending a toxicology report.

Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said state law mandates that a suspect can only be held in custody for 72 hours before a charge has been filed. He said the toxicology test will take longer than that to complete, and that the suspect will be released as the investigation continues. The test will determine whether the driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision.

Sheriff’s deputies were pursuing the suspect, who had an infant with him in his Kia, until he exited Highway 18. They then broke off the pursuit.

Minutes later, deputies who had been called to assist with the pursuit discovered the accident. Neither the suspect nor the infant were seriously injured.

Miller said it’s important that people remember the consequences of Tuesday’s accident.

“There is a father and a husband and a friend to a whole lot of people that is on the other side of that story,” he said. “There’s a lot of us that are walking around today feeling guilty about the little things in life that we take for granted that our friend Mike doesn’t get to do anymore.”

A family friend has set up an online fundraising page for Brooks’ family.

Information in this article, originally published June 8, 2016, was corrected June 9, 2016. A previous version of this story gave the wrong location for the crash.