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UPDATED: Sumner man charged in deadly Pacific crash early Monday

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Sep. 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
September 7, 2010 3:11 pm
Joseph P. McNeil during his arraignment this afternoon/Courtesy of KIRO TV

Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 29-year-old Sumner man with vehicular homicide after a deadly crash early Monday in Pacific.

Joseph Patrick McNeil pleaded not guilty on the charges this afternoon. Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Patrick Oishi ordered McNeil held in lieu of $75,000 bail. If released from jail, he also was ordered to be put on electric home monitoring and alcohol monitoring, prosecutors reported.

Prosecutors allege McNeil was driving a 4×4 westbound on Stewart Road Southwest just before 2 a.m. Monday when he crossed into oncoming lanes in the 100 block and hit a small white car driven by Samuel Stephens. The 24-year-old Stephens died at the scene.

McNeil remained at the scene. A witness reported seeing him stumble after the crash. Officers also noticed “obvious signs of intoxication,” including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and a “very strong odor” of intoxicants on his breath, charging documents state.

McNeil told officers he’d had a couple of beers at a Sumner establishment. He said he did not see the other car. He told officers he was eastbound on Stewart, which was different that the evidence and witness statements, court documents state.

“Police collision investigation documented that the defendant’s vehicle entered Stephens’ lane of travel and basically rolled over the vehicle, causing Stephens’ death and substantial damage to the vehicle driven by Stephens,” charging documents state.

McNeil’s blood was drawn for testing of its alcohol content. The results were not immediately available.

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