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November 19, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Chinese student faces vehicular homicide charge after victim dies

A 25-year-old woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury after her car was broadsided in a crash in Des Moines on Nov. 10 was declared legally dead on Monday, according to a spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center.

Brenda Gomez-Zapata was pronounced brain dead at noon Monday, said hospital spokeswoman Leila Gray.

On Thursday, King County prosecutors charged Yichun Xu, a 19-year-old Chinese national, with four counts of vehicular assault and two counts of reckless endangerment for running a stop sign and slamming his black Mercedes-Benz into Gomez-Zapata’s red BMW at freeway speeds. At the time, Gomez-Zapata was driving four young family members to a birthday party, charging papers say.

Amy Freedheim, the senior deputy prosecutor handling the case, said Monday that charges will be amended to include one count of vehicular homicide now that Gomez-Zapata has been declared brain dead.

Xu is to be arraigned on the charges on Nov. 29. He is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

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