A Yakima man has been charged with vehicular homicide stemming from an October crash that killed a Richland couple while they were stopped on the shoulder of Interstate 82.
State troopers say blood tests and other evidence show Brent A. Owens, 39, was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash two miles east of Union Gap.
A toxicology report indicated the presence of alprazolam, commonly marketed as Xanax, as well as codeine, morphine and methamphetamine, according to a probable cause statement filed in Yakima County Superior Court. The statement did not say how much of each drug was detected.
Owens is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 14 on two counts of vehicular homicide. State Patrol detectives completed their investigation in mid-December and charges were filed Tuesday after prosecutors reviewed the case.
The crash occurred Oct. 23 when an eastbound Ford F-550 driven by Owens entered the right shoulder and struck the Cadillac CTS driven by Leonard Shure, troopers said.
Both vehicles crossed the eastbound lanes and came to rest in the median. JoAn and Leonard “Len” Shure died at the scene, while Owens was not seriously injured.
Patrol detectives said they were not able to determine why the couple had stopped on the shoulder.
Leonard Shure, 66, was a Franklin County jail sergeant.
JoAn Shure, 71, was listed on LinkedIn as the co-founder of “Reaching Your Potential” & Associates, a nonprofit that works with businesses, churches and other nonprofits to identify and help people seeking to overcome issues that have kept them from being successful.
She also was listed as co-director of the media and resource center at GracePoint Church of God.
In February 2015, Owens was sentenced to 20 days in jail after pleading guilty to possessing meth that was discovered while Yakima County sheriff’s deputies were investigating a 2014 traffic crash involving Owens and another driver.
Deputies said they found the meth in a pickup Owens was driving when it crossed the center line on Terrace Heights Drive. He is free on bail while awaiting a February trial on charges of third-degree child rape and commercial sexual abuse of a minor. He is accused of paying a 15-year-old for sex in March.
Information from the Tri-City Herald is included in this report.