A woman accused of nearly hitting a Seattle police officer with a stolen car, then taking off at high speed and eventually crashing into a garbage truck in Lake City on Monday has been charged with second-degree murder for killing her passenger while attempting to elude police, King County prosecutors say.
Chelsi Mahoney, 28, was charged with murder in the death of 29-year-old Elliot Yearby Jr., a man who was wanted on felony warrants in three separate criminal cases for possessing methamphetamine, possessing a stolen vehicle and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, court records show. Bench warrants in all three cases were issued for Yearby’s arrest on Dec. 4.
Mahoney, who does not have a valid driver’s license and is unemployed and homeless, was also charged with felony hit-and-run, accused of climbing over Yearby’s body to flee the crash scene, charging papers say. She ran only a few feet before she was arrested by Seattle police and remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail, court and jail records show. The charges say Mahoney was high on an unknown stimulant at the time of the crash and a syringe filled with what police suspect are illicit drugs was found in the wreckage.
According to the charges:
Two Seattle police officers were in their patrol car just after 2 p.m. Monday when they spotted a suspicious vehicle parked in a secluded spot south of the QFC grocery store at 1546 N.E. 145th St., and realized it matched a police bulletin about a blue 1995 Subaru Legacy that had been reported stolen on Dec. 12. The stolen-vehicle bulletin indicated Yearby was a possible suspect and as the officers approached the Subaru, they saw that the front-seat passenger matched Yearby’s description. A woman was behind the wheel.
The officers stopped their vehicle in front of the Subaru and got out of the patrol car:
“Immediately, the defendant accelerated out of the parking lot, nearly hitting one of the officers who had to put his hand on the hood of the vehicle to help jump out of the way of the car,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim wrote in charging papers.
The two officers got back in their patrol car and attempted to pursue the Subaru, but as they exited the parking lot, another vehicle stopped right in front of them, forcing them to wait until the vehicle moved. By then, the officers had lost sight of the Subaru but broadcast over their police radio that it had left the parking lot through the south exit.
A third officer was driving north in the 12500 block of 15th Avenue Northeast when he saw the Subaru driving toward him from the opposite direction. The officer made a U-turn to get behind the Subaru, which then veered across four lanes of traffic. The Subaru accelerated the wrong way through a wash bay at the Brown Bear Car Wash at 12506 15th Ave. N.E., located a little over a mile south of the QFC.
With the third officer still in pursuit, the Subaru crossed Northeast 125th Street at a diagonal, forcing two other cars to stop to avoid a collision. The Subaru wove south and east, then north and east, through a residential neighborhood at 45 mph in a 20 mph speed zone, the charges say. As it circled back north, the Subaru slowed for a stop sign before turning right onto Northeast 125th Street, then was driven in the center turn lane at speeds of 55 to 60 mph, roughly twice the speed limit, before veering into oncoming traffic to avoid a westbound car that was stopped in the turn lane.
After crossing Lake City Way, the eastbound Subaru ran a red light at the corner of Northeast 125th Street and 35th Avenue Northeast but then had to swerve right to avoid crashing into a southbound school bus. That’s when the driver lost control and crashed into the rear of an unoccupied garbage truck parked on Northeast 125th Street.
“The impact destroyed the Subaru and killed Mr. Yearby,” Freedheim wrote in the charges. Mahoney, who was not injured, “climbed over his body and the front of the now smashed Subaru. She looked towards the police but ignored their commands yelling for her to stop. She was only able to run a few feet before being apprehended,” Freedheim wrote.
Yearby, who died at the scene, was pinned inside the Subaru and his body had to be extricated by Seattle firefighters. During the extrication, an officer spotted drug paraphernalia and a full syringe inside the wrecked Subaru.
Officers obtained a warrant to have Mahoney’s blood drawn and are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine which drugs they believe she had used, the charges say.