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March 7, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Foreign student whose mom paid $2M bail sentenced in fatal crash

A foreign student who crashed his newly purchased Mercedes-Benz into another car, killing its driver and injuring three people, was sentenced to 17½ months in prison on Friday.

Yichun Xu, 20, pleaded guilty in February to vehicular homicide and three counts of reckless endangerment for a Nov. 10, 2012, crash in Des Moines that killed a 25-year-old Brenda Gomez-Zapata.

Xu, a Chinese national, had been in the country for two months and was living with a host family in Olympia and attending Puget Sound Community College at the time of the crash, charging documents say.

He was driving his Mercedes around 70 mph along 20th Avenue South, when he ran a stop sign at the intersection with South 240th Street and slammed into Gomez-Zapata’s car, prosecutors say.

Gomez-Zapata, who was driving relatives to a birthday party, was fatally injured and three of her passengers were hurt, according to police and prosecutors.

At the time of his arrest, Xu had $542 in his wallet but no driver’s license, prosecutors said. Charging documents say he asked several times if he could bail himself out right away instead of being booked into jail.

Because he was considered a flight risk, bail was set at $2 million. He was released from King County Jail in March, 2013, after his mother handed over a cashier’s check for the entire $2 million bail. He had to surrender his passport as a condition of his release, and he turned himself in to police on Feb. 10, 2014.

Comments | More in The Blotter, Traffic & Transit | Topics: collision, Des Moines, fatal

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