April 5, 2013 at 1:19 PM
Driver in fatal Highway 520 crash had done a U-turn
UPDATE, 4:45 p.m | The 25-year-old Tacoma man arrested in a wrong-way crash that killed a Seattle woman Thursday did a U-turn on eastbound Highway 520 before striking her car at a closing speed of 100 mph, according to charging documents released Friday.
King County prosecutors have charged Michael Anthony Robertson with one count of vehicular homicide. He is still in custody at Harborview Medical Center, where he is being treated for a leg injury. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
An open, almost-empty bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky was found on the right front passenger seat of Robertson’s Ford Explorer after the crash, charging papers say.
Robertson had spent the evening drinking with friends in Seattle and was on his way to Tacoma, charging papers say. He took the Montlake Boulevard onramp onto eastbound 520, but then inexplicably made a U-turn “in one motion” and drove west, the papers say. He slammed his Ford Explorer head-on into Morgan Fick Williams’ Mazda Protégé underneath the Montlake overpass, according to the charges.
Williams, 58, was trapped in her vehicle with “catastrophic” injuries, the papers say.
Robertson was also trapped in his Explorer with a broken ankle, the papers say.
“He kept trying to exit the car and ‘go home,’” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim wrote in the charging documents. He suggested “he must have been drugged” and admitted to troopers that he’d consumed alcohol and felt impaired, she wrote.
Robertson’s blood was drawn at the hospital, and prosecutors are awaiting toxicology test results from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, the papers say.
In addition to a pending DUI case in Tacoma, Robertson was cited for speeding five times – twice in 2009 and three times in 2011, charging papers say.
“The defendant is a grave danger to the community who repeatedly drives without regard for others’ safety and cannot follow court orders,” the papers say.
Noting that Robertson was ordered not to consume any alcohol after his DUI arrest in December, King County prosecutors have requested that he be ordered to wear a transdermal alcohol-sensing bracelet should he post bail and be released, the papers say. Additional conditions of release include not using alcohol and not driving, according to the papers.
Details also emerged Friday about the December drunken-driving arrest, when Robertson rear-ended another vehicle then drove away, according to a Washington State Patrol report released in response to a public-disclosure request.
Robertson was so drunk at the time of the Tacoma crash that he almost fell during a field sobriety test, his clothes were disheveled and his zipper was undone, court records show. He reeked of booze and made incoherent statements to the arresting trooper. He said he had been drinking Jose Cuervo tequila that night and had a blood-alcohol content of .18, more than twice the legal limit of .08, according to the report.
Robertson, who was to stand trial later this month on the December DUI charge, had rear-ended a car on a freeway offramp. After hitting the other vehicle, he put his light green Kia Soul in reverse and sped off, leaving his front bumper in the roadway with the license plate still attached. A witness called 911 and followed his car, which was pulled over by a Tacoma police officer, according to the WSP’s investigation report.
Both air bags in the Kia had deployed, and the man in the front passenger seat of Robertson’s car was passed out, the report says.
The woman whose vehicle Robertson hit was able to drag the bumper out of the road, and it was later matched to the vehicle he was driving, the report says.
In Thursday’s fatal crash, Robertson was arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide and will be booked into the King County Jail once he is released from the hospital, according to the State Patrol.
Williams, the other driver, died from her injuries at Harborview a few hours after the predawn collision. A mother of two adult children, Williams had worked at the Eddie Bauer corporate offices for three decades and was on her way to work at the time of the crash.
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