UPDATE: 3:04 p.m. | According to a statement of probable cause released this afternoon by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, police began focusing on the suspect, Garcia-Reyes, in April. Police said his silver 2002 Chevrolet Suburban (see photo below) matched the description of the vehicle that struck Wang.
The affidavit says police interviewed Garcia-Reyes at his home on Wednesday and he said he was involved in the collision and fled after the crash.
A judge this afternoon found probable cause to hold Garcia-Reyes on felony hit and run and set bail at $500,000. The deadline to file charges is Monday.
Original post: | Seattle police this morning announced the arrest of a suspect in the fatal hit-and-run accident that killed photographer Michael Wang last July.
Wang, 44, a photographer at PATH, a global health nonprofit in Seattle, was headed north on Dexter Avenue North in Seattle shortly before 4 p.m. July 28 when he was struck by an SUV that was making a left turn onto Thomas Street, police said. The driver of the vehicle — which was described as a mid-1990s to mid-2000s beige to brown colored American-made SUV, possibly with tinted windows and a chrome roof rack — fled from the scene.
The suspect, Erlin Garcia-Reyes, 28, of Normandy Park, was recently arrested and charged in King County District Court in an unrelated case of hit-and-run driving, according to court documents.
In that case, Garcia-Reyes was a passenger in a vehicle that drove into the parking lot of the 76 gas station at 10500 Greenwood Ave. N. on Sunday. Instead of pulling straight into a parking stall, the vehicle went over the curb, striking the store’s front window and glass door, charging documents say.
The driver jumped into the vehicle’s back seat and Garcia -Reyes got into the driver’s seat and drove away from the scene, according to the court documents. Police and prosecutors say the incident was caught on the gas station’s video surveillance.
According to court documents, Garcia-Reyes then went to his girlfriend’s home, called 911 and reported his vehicle stolen. The unoccupied vehicle was located at an apartment complex in the 10300 block of Fremont Ave. N., the documents say.
Garcia-Reyes was arrested for investigation of hit and run and false reporting. However, he was released from custody pending the filing of criminal charges in that case.
During a news conference this morning at Seattle police headquarters, police said detectives interviewed Garcia-Reyes on Wednesday and arrested him for investigation of felony hit and run in connection with the death of Wang. Police declined to say how detectives connected Garcia-Reyes to the fatal accident. They also did not discuss Sunday’s hit and run allegedly involving Garcia-Reyes.
Garcia-Reyes is scheduled to make a first court appearance on the felony hit-and-run charge this afternoon at the King County Jail.
Wang had commuted by bicycle to his Shoreline home for several years, according to his wife Claire Allen. He is also survived by two children: Walter, 12, and Sylvie, 9.
To read more about Wang and to view some of his photographs, click here.