Driver sentenced in 2022 crash that killed Renton couple

The King County Superior Court sentenced a 20-year-old man on Jan. 12 on vehicular homicide charges for a 2022 Renton collision that killed a husband and his wife.

Michael Radu-Ionita pleaded guilty to two vehicular homicide charges in September 2023 for the Aug. 27, 2022, collision that resulted in the deaths of Renton residents Violet Cayetano Lyon, 72, and Herbert Lyon, 82.

Judge Matthew Segal sentenced Radu-Ionita to 26 months in confinement at his Jan. 12 sentencing hearing with credit for time served.

According to prosecutorial documents, Radu-Ionita, age 18 at the time of the collision, crashed into the Lyons’ vehicle on the evening of Aug. 27 at a turn on 140th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 186th Street, south of Carriage Crest Elementary School.

First responders transported both Violet and Herbert Lyon to Harborview Medical Center following the collision. Violet Lyon died the day of the crash and husband Herbert Lyon died the following day on Aug. 28, 2022, as a result of injuries received in the collision. The crash also resulted in the hospitalization of Radu-Ionita for injuries.

A witness in the incident told police that Radu-Ionita attempted to flirt with her and her passenger as they traveled southbound on 140th Avenue Southeast.

After a traffic light switched from red to green, Radu-Ionita accelerated down 140th Avenue Southeast at an estimated 79 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Radu-Ionita struck Herbert and Violet Lyon, traveling northbound, in the middle of a left turn into Southeast 186th Street.

The impact redirected the Lyons’ Subaru Outback backwards by 125 feet and Radu-Ionita’s BMW into a power line, breaking the pole. A 13-foot section of the power pole crashed on top of the hood of Radu-Ionita’s BMW.

A fire started in the engine compartment of the Lyons’ Subaru Outback as flames engulfed Radu-Ionita’s BMW.

Witnesses of the collision pulled Radu-Ionita from the burning vehicle.

“I operated my vehicle with disregard for the safety of others by going 79 miles per hour on a city street, which due to my speed resulted in a violent motor vehicle collision,” Radu-Ionita wrote in his plea statement. “… Ms. Lyon was killed in the crash and Mr. Lyon died from his injuries the next day.”

Prosecutors recommended 26 months of confinement in Radu-Ionita’s plea deal, with the two 26-month sentences attached to his two vehicular homicide charges to run concurrently.

Radu-Ionita will serve his sentence in the custody of the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Judge Segal ordered an additional 12 months of community custody following Radu-Ionita’s jail time. As per the recommendations within his plea deal with prosecutors, Radu-Ionita will also have to take classes and complete an “aggressive driving school,” not drive without valid license and insurance, and have no further criminal law and moving violations.