Yichun Xu, a 19-year-old community college student from China, entered not guilty pleas this morning to six charges, including vehicular homicide, for a Nov. 10 crash in Des Moines that led to the death of a 25-year-old woman days later at Harborview Medical Center.
Xu did not speak during his arraignment before King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Roberts denied a request from Xu’s defense attorney, Scott Leist, who didn’t want his client photographed by the news media.
Xu is also charged with three counts of vehicular assault and two counts of reckless endangerment, accused of driving through a residential neighborhood at freeway speeds, running a stop sign and slamming his newly-purchased Mercedes-Benz into a BMW driven by Brenda Gomez-Zapata, who was declared brain dead on Nov. 19, according to King County prosecutors.
Also injured were three of Gomez-Zapata’s young family members, who she had been driving to a birthday party, court records say.
Members of Gomez-Zapata’s family, including her mother and fiancé, were in the gallery for Xu’s court appearance. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail.