A 21-year-old man has been charged with vehicular homicide for allegedly causing a wreck in Spanaway last year in which his passenger died.
Leroy Edward Johnson is to be arraigned in Pierce County Superior Court on Aug. 1.
Samuel Rees Powell, also 21, died Aug. 7, 2010, after being thrown through the windshield of Johnson’s car during a collision in the intersection of 224th Street East and 46th Avenue East. Powell wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
Johnson allegedly ran a red light and collided with a Chrysler minivan, court records state.
Pierce County sheriff’s deputies who investigated the wreck said evidence at the scene, including skid marks, indicated Johnson’s Honda Civic was traveling between 55 and 85 mph when it hit the minivan’s passenger side.
Johnson allegedly told investigators he, Powell and another young man were returning from a party when “the light suddenly turned red,” court records state. Johnson said he tried to stop but didn’t have time.
Deputies noticed the odor of intoxicants coming from Johnson. He said he’d drunk a couple of shots at the party, the records state. Investigators reported finding an open case of beer inside his car and empty beer cans in the floorboards.
Investigators drew his blood following the wreck. Tests showed his blood-alcohol level at .10. The legal limit in Washington is .08.