In May 2018, a Seattle man named Porter Feller drove away from a fender bender on East Madison Street, so police officers went looking for him.

Though no one was injured in the accident and the alleged crime was a misdemeanor, one of the officers lied to one of Feller’s friends, mentioning that a woman had been left in critical condition. Five days after the crash, Feller deliberately injected himself with a fatal mix of drugs.

“The officer thought the ruse would help find Feller. But the fateful chain of events ended in tragic circumstances,” Seattle Times criminal justice reporter Steve Miletich wrote in his recent article about the case.

On Episode 123 of The Overcast, The Seattle Times news and politics podcast, Times reporter Daniel Beekman and KNKX reporter Simone Alicea ask Miletich to explain how the officer’s lie unraveled and how the truth changed everything for Feller’s family and friends.

Miletich explains what changes the Seattle Police Department and King County Medical Examiner’s Office have made based on the case and in response to his coverage. He also describes how he reported the tale in stages, using public-records requests and interviews to learn more, and tell the upsetting tale in greater detail.

“To start with Porter Feller, I wanted to know more about him, who he was,” Miletich says. “There had to be a deeper story there.”


This episode was recorded at the Seattle studios of KNKX.

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