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Charges filed in September crash that killed Graham-Kapowsin soccer player

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Dec. 22, 2011 at 10:01 am |
December 22, 2011 10:35 am
Clara Vallone

Pierce County prosecutors allege a 20-year-old man was driving recklessly when he lost control of his car on Canyon Road in September, killing a well-liked Graham-Kaposwin girls’ soccer player and injuring another.

Prosecutors charged Brandon D. Fair with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and driving with a suspended license this morning. A warrant has been issued for Fair’s arrest.

Prosecutors allege Fair was behind the wheel when a red 2004 Dodge Neon crashed into a power pole in the 13700 block of Canyon Road East about 4:30 p.m.  Sept. 20.

Clara Vallone and Maryssa Beare were riding in the back seat. Vallone, 16, died of her injuries about an hour after the crash. Beare, also 16, suffered multiple facial fractures, a broken jaw, two fractured ribs, a concussion and cuts to her left eye, left ear and right knee, charging documents state.

The girls, both juniors, were defenders on the Graham-Kapowsin High School girls’ soccer team. They were on their way to a game at Sparks Stadium, where their teammates awaited their arrival.

Two witnesses told Pierce County sheriff’s deputies that they had seen the Neon speeding north on Canyon Road shortly before the crash.

One witness said the Neon cut in front of him and was going 80 mph or faster, charging documents state.

“He said the vehicle began to ‘fishtail’ and then ‘fishtailed approximately four or five times,’ getting worse each time,” court documents state. “The vehicle then slammed into the light pole.”

Another witness reported the Neon had been weaving in and out of traffic.

“He said the driver lost control of the car, almost hitting another car,” charging documents state. “He said the car began to fishtail, spun sideways and then crashed into the light pole while still moving at a high rate of speed.”

A deputy contacted Fair at the crash scene. Fair claimed he lost control of his car because his brakes failed. He said he’d been told he had only 20 percent of his brake pads left.

Fair said he had new brake pads in his trunk and had planned to replace the old ones. He denied consuming any alcohol, drugs or medication, court documents state.

The deputy noticed Fair’s eyes were watery and bloodshot. His tongue was light green from front to back and his taste buds were elevated, signs that are common in a person who has smoked marijuana, charging documents state.

Fair’s blood was drawn nearly an hour after the crash. During the process, he admitted he uses marijuana but he hadn’t used any in the past two days, charging documents state.

“He then added, ‘I have been trying to get some weed all day,’” court documents state.

Tests found metabolized THC in his blood.

An accident reconstructionist estimated Fair was going a minimum of 57 mph right before the crash, charging documents state.

Two days after the crash, the Graham-Kapowsin soccer team retired Vallone’s No. 10 during a pregame ceremony before their game against rival Bethel.

The Eagles wore special pink jerseys – pink being one of Vallone’s favorite colors – and two players delivered flower bouquets to Vallone’s mother.

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