October 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Seattle man enters Alford plea to 2011 crash that killed couple
A Seattle man entered an Alford plea this morning to one count of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault for a fatal crash that killed two people on Lake City Way Northeast in November 2011.
In an Alford plea, a defendant concedes there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction, but they are not directly acknowledging guilt.
Daniel Ray Habeeb was also found not guilty by reason of insanity for the second death in the crash.
He was then sentenced to 48 months in prison for vehicular homicide and 17 months for vehicular assault. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Habeeb was driving his Ford Explorer with two passengers — his 10-year-old daughter and the girl’s 11-year-old friend — on Nov. 13, 2011, when he struck a Hyundai driven by Kristopher Martin, 33, on Lake City Way Northeast, authorities said. The Hyundai burst into flames and Martin and his girlfriend, Laura Sheard, 26, died at the scene.
Habeeb was driving his daughter and her friend to his condominium when they became worried because he was driving so fast, according to the charges. The older girl told police that Habeeb appeared “stiff,” like he was bracing for a crash, charges said.
Authorities said that Habeeb was driving between 70 and 90 mph just before the crash.
Habeeb had earlier been convicted causing a Jan. 30, 2009, fatal car crash while suffering a previously undiagnosed psychotic episode. Prosecutors said he had stopped taking his medications before he the November 2011 crash.
In the earlier crash, Habeeb struck 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,” prosecutors said.
In court this morning, a defense attorney said Habeeb suffers from temporal lobe epilepsy and not psychosis.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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