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December 20, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Seattle man pleads not guilty in crash that killed 2

A Seattle man accused of killing two people when he slammed his SUV into their car last month pleaded not guilty today to two counts of vehicular homicide and one count each of vehicular assault and reckless endangerment.

Prosecutors say Daniel Habeeb was speeding and driving recklessly before slamming into a car on Nov. 13, killing Laura Sheard, 26, and Kristopher Martin, 33.

Habeeb remains in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

Habeeb was driving his Ford Explorer with two passengers — his 10-year-old daughter and the girl’s 11-year-old friend — when he struck Martin’s Hyundai on Lake City Way Northeast, authorities said. The Hyundai burst into flames and Sheard and Martin died at the scene.

Authorities said that Habeeb was driving between 70 and 90 mph just before the crash.

On Jan 30, 2009, Habeeb crashed into another car near Interbay, killing the driver, Susan Peek, 65. After that crash Habeeb entered psychiatric treatment and told therapists that “voices told him to speed,” Freedheim wrote in court paperwork.

Doctors declared that Habeeb had suffered a previously undiagnosed psychotic episode.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Habeeb pleaded guilty to reduced charges and in July 2010 he was given a one-year suspended sentence. He avoided jail time as long as he did not commit any new crimes, including any traffic violations, while serving two years of probation.

However, just before last month’s crash, Habeeb had been having mental-health troubles but did not report them to his therapist, prosecutors allege. They said that Habeeb was aware of the danger his mental-health condition posed, but he chose to ignore the risks.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Seattle, Seattle Police

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