on Talbot Road
The driver of a 2002 Acura that crashed into an apartment complex on Talbot Road South in December, resulting in the death a passenger, has been charged with vehicular homicide.
The driver, Taylor Chiasson, 21, of Renton could face from 31 months to 41 months in prison if he’s convicted, according to Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Chiasson’s arraignment is set for May 27 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
He is being held in the county jail in Kent on $100,000 bail, according to Donohoe.
Killed in the crash was 26-year-old Justin Dunn.
At the time, according to prosecutors, Chiasson was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Chiasson, along with Dunn and another passenger in the car, Maria A. Trejo, 24, had attended an engagement party in Kent. Trejo is the registered owner of the black Acura.
Each had about five drinks, according to prosecutors, including three pints of Blue Moon beer and a drink called “liquid ecstasy,” made of vodka, apple pucker and Red Bull.
According to charging papers, Trejo knew she was not safe to drive and handed her keys to Chiasson. The papers also indicate that Trejo knew Chiasson “was not OK to drive, but thought he was lucid and in control enough to make the trip to his apartment. Trejo had seen Chiasson really drunk before and gauged her decision on that.”
The three left the Gonzo’s Pub on Southeast 272nd Street in Kent at about 1:45 a.m. They were headed for the apartment at 5301 Talbot Road S., where Chiasson’s girlfriend lived. Trejo was in the front seat, with Dunn in the back seat.
According to the charging papers, Trejo was driving “at a safe rate of speed,” but then gunned the engine on Talbot Road South. Dunn asked Chiasson to slow down and grabbed the back of Trejo’s seat to hold on.
The temperature was 33 degrees outside and street lights illuminated the two-lane road. The speed limit is 35 mph along that stretch of Talbot Road.
According to prosecutors, Chiasson continued to accelerate on Talbot Road, losing control near South 55th Street. The Acura left the roadway, traveled through a ditch and rotated counter-clockwise. A portion of the car went airborne.
According to prosecutors, the Acura continued to travel uncontrolled until it crashed through a wood fence bordering the Springbrook Apartment complex.
The Acura, after going through three large posts and striking a tree, went airborne for about 45 feet, according to charging papers.
The Acura’s left front wheel landed on the grass and the left rear wheel landed on the walkway in front of the “B” building, according to prosecutors. The Acura began to roll, striking the door to an apartment. The Acura came to rest between the corner of the “B” Building and a rockery.
Chiasson helped Trejo from the car and they both found Dunn inside unconscious.
According to prosecutors, Chiasson went down on his knees, held Dunn’s head in his hands and repeatedly begged him to “wake up.” Dunn apparently wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, according to prosecutors.
The Renton Police and Fire departments arrived along with King County medics. Dunn died at the scene and Chiasson and Trejo were treated at the scene, then taken to Harborview Medical Center. Chiasson was arrested at the hospital. Toxicology tests showed Chiasson’s blood-alcohol level was .16, double what’s considered legally drunk.
Reconstruction of the accident showed that Chiasson was driving in excess of 74 mph.
Dean A. Radford can be reached at 425-255-3484, ext. 5050, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.