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Driver suspected of being drunk and high before killing Kennewick moped rider

Fatal DUI suspect Katie Summers in court

Fatal DUI suspect Katie Summers appears before Benton County Superior Court Judge Samuel Swanberg. Public defense attorney Ryan Swinburnson was assigned to her case.
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Fatal DUI suspect Katie Summers appears before Benton County Superior Court Judge Samuel Swanberg. Public defense attorney Ryan Swinburnson was assigned to her case.

Bail is set at $500,000 for a Richland fitness trainer suspected of driving drunk and high when she killed a moped rider Tuesday night.

Police said Katie L. Summers, 28, turned left in front of the moped rider who was heading west on Clearwater Avenue at 8:47 p.m.

Leonel Z. Birrueta, 31, of Kennewick, was hit at the Edison Street intersection and died at the scene, police said.

The mother of two stopped for a moment and got out of her Toyota Tundra. But witnesses told police Summers did not identify herself or try to help or call 911, according to court documents.

She got back into her truck and drove off. Police found her a short time later in the Albertsons grocery store parking lot, less than a block from the intersection.

Police said she admitted to driving the truck that hit Birrueta, who also has a daughter.

Officers said they smelled alcohol and burned marijuana on Summers when they talked with her. She then admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana before the collision, said court documents.

She was taken to Trios Southridge Hospital to collect a blood sample before being taken to the Benton County jail.

A motorcyclist died and a woman is in jail after a crash at West Clearwater Avenue and Edison Street. Kennewick police believe Katie L. Summers, 28, was allegedly drunk or on drugs when she turned in front of motorcycle rider Leonel Z. Birrueta, 31.

On Wednesday, Judge Sam Swanberg found probable cause to hold her on suspicion of vehicular homicide and hit and run from a fatal wreck.

He left the bail amount at $500,000 but said her attorney could ask for a reduction at a later hearing.

Summers has been featured in fitness magazines and websites after she lost more than 100 pounds. She now is a women’s fitness coach at Fit For Me on George Washington Way.

A longtime friend of Birrueta told the Herald she didn’t want to talk about Summers, saying he wouldn’t want his loved ones to be angry at her.

Birrueta was the type of person to literally give the shirt off his back to a person in need, said Elizabeth Liston.

The Kennewick man actually did that once, and there were dozens of other times he showed generosity to friends, family and strangers.

“He loved everybody,” she said. “He had the greatest heart.”

His fiancee, Rachel Juarez, asked Liston to give a statement about Birrueta.

Liston spoke at Lawrence Scott Park within sight of the McDonald’s on Kellogg Street where he worked. He loved working on and using remote control cars, drones, skateboards and hoverboards.

“We all need to figure out where we are in a world without Leo,” she said. “We have to bring a little bit of Leo’s positivity into the world.”

A GoFundMe account was created to help pay for his funeral expenses.

Kennewick police are asking any witnesses to the crash to call 509-585-4555, ext. 4222.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402; Twitter: @cameroncprobert
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