King County prosecutors have filed charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless endangerment against an 18-year-old man accused of driving so fast on a winding road in Auburn that his car traveled more than 400 feet off the road, sheared a utility pole and ejected two passengers.
Qiang Liu, of Auburn, was with four passengers at 10 p.m. on Sunday when he lost control on the rain-slicked road, prosecutors allege in charging documents filed this week in King County Superior Court. The car left the roadway and struck two utility poles, cutting one in half, court documents say.
Police said an accident reconstruction team estimated that Liu was traveling roughly twice the posted speed limit of 35 mph and that his car traveled more than 700 feet between the time Liu lost control of the vehicle until it came to rest.
Two backseat passengers were ejected from the car, police and prosecutors said. One of them, 17-year-old Zhenyu Yang, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other, Weihao Xu, also 17, was critically injured and remains hospitalized with collapsed lungs, a broken pelvis and other injuries, according to charging documents.
Prosecutors say that Liu, a Chinese citizen attending Green River Community College, was previously charged with attempting to elude police following an incident in November in which he was alleged to have been driving at speeds up to 120 mph. That case is pending.
Prosecutors said Liu has no ties to the community and is a flight risk and have asked the court to order him to turn over his passport. He is being held in jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
His arraignment is scheduled for March 6.