A Seattle man was charged Tuesday with felony hit and run and the theft of a vehicle of an off-duty Seattle police officer, after she was struck by a car and killed while assisting people involved in a crash, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Roger Lee Owens Jr., 49, was arrested last week after being accused of stealing Officer Alexandra “Lexi” Harris’ personal vehicle after she was killed on Interstate 5.
Prosecutors say Owens was driving a U-Haul van that was involved in a three-car collision near South Forest Street on June 13. While the cars were stopped, Harris, 38, pulled over while off duty to help. A driver of a fourth car, unable to stop in time, struck one of the vehicles before hitting Harris.
State Patrol, who arrested Owens on Thursday, said he then stole Harris’ vehicle and left it two miles away in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Police said he also stole her backpack, which had her police badge and gun.
Owens was charged with three felonies Tuesday, including unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree.
Police determined Owens rented the U-Haul using a Washington state license bearing his photograph, but another name, according to probable-cause documents.
Owens told police Friday he had crashed into a car on freeway and Harris was standing next to him to help, when she was hit by a car, the documents state. Police said he told detectives he panicked and took her vehicle, parked it off the first exit and then took her bag.
According to the documents, Owens said two days later, he put Harris’ gun in a garbage can near a grocery store in Greenwood.
A King County judge found sufficient probable cause Friday to hold Owens on $325,000 bail. The total includes a $75,000 bail for a separate January incident in North Seattle in which Owens is being investigated for drug possession with intent to distribute, possession of fake IDs, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Owens waived his right to appear in court Saturday, and was represented by a King County public defender. His next court appearance is an arraignment scheduled for July.
Prosecutors said Owens had 16 arrest warrants issued since 1996, including an active warrant for the North Seattle incident when he was arrested.
The driver of the vehicle that struck Harris is cooperating with investigators, according to police. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has said that Harris died from multiple blunt-force injuries and has ruled her death an accident.