A Chinese community-college student, who drove his newly purchased Mercedes-Benz at freeway speeds on a residential street in Des Moines and crashed into another car, killing the driver and injuring three people, pleaded guilty today.
Yichun Xu pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide (disregard for the safety of others) and three counts of reckless endangerment. He faces a sentence of 15 months in prison when he is sentenced on March 7, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Xu, a Chinese national had been in the country for two months and was attending South Puget Sound Community College, when he was arrested for the November 10, 2012 crash. He has been out of jail on $2 million bail posted by his mother since last spring.
The other driver, Brenda Gomez-Zapata, 25, died from a severe brain injury, and three others in her car were injured
On the day of the crash, Xu was driving a C300 he had purchased four days earlier back to his Des Moines apartment after going to a grocery store in Kent, according to charging papers.
One witness estimated the Mercedes was traveling at 70 mph along 20th Avenue South before running a stop sign at the intersection with South 240th Street and slamming into Brenda Gomez-Zapata’s car, the papers say.
Bail for Xu was set at a high amount because prosecutors feared he was a flight risk.