Crime

Richland fitness trainer pleads innocent in death of moped rider

This roadside memorial of flowers, candles, balloons and a baseball hat is near where Leonel Birrueta, 31, of Kennewick, was killed on his moped at West Clearwater Avenue at Edison Street. Katie Summers, 28, is charged with DUI and hit and run from a fatal collision.
This roadside memorial of flowers, candles, balloons and a baseball hat is near where Leonel Birrueta, 31, of Kennewick, was killed on his moped at West Clearwater Avenue at Edison Street. Katie Summers, 28, is charged with DUI and hit and run from a fatal collision. Tri-City Herald

Loved ones of a Kennewick man killed while riding his moped filled two rows in a courtroom Monday to see the driver who hit him and drove away.

Katie L. Summers, 28, pleaded innocent to two felonies, vehicular homicide and hit and run with death.

Her trial is set for Oct. 15 in Benton County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say the mother of two was under the influence of alcohol, and possibly marijuana, when her truck hit Leonel Z. Birrueta.

Birrueta, 31, left behind a young daughter, a fiancée, and numerous relatives and friends. He worked at the McDonald’s restaurant on North Kellogg Street.

A GoFundMe account to help with his funeral costs and other expenses had raised nearly half of the $10,000 goal by Monday afternoon.

Birrueta was headed west on Clearwater Avenue at 8:48 p.m. Aug. 21 when Summers made a left turn in front of his moped.

He collided with the front passenger side of her Toyota Tundra as she was turning north onto Edison Street.

Katie Summers court.JPG
Katie L. Summers has an Oct. 15 trial date for killing a moped rider on Clearwater Avenue at Edison Street. File Tri-City Herald

Court documents said that video footage from the crash shows Summers had a flashing yellow arrow to yield to oncoming traffic. The moped’s headlights were on, Kennewick police said.

Summers, a Richland fitness trainer, stopped outside of the intersection, got out and paced back and forth while cursing several times, witnesses told police.

She then drove off without checking on the dying moped rider or calling 911, documents said. Summers allegedly admitted to calling her boyfriend from the scene.

Witnesses said her truck returned several minutes later, first stopping next to a dumpster at the gas station before parking behind the Super Supplements store at the corner.

Police found Summers sitting in her truck 11 minutes after the crash and she reportedly told them she had smoked marijuana earlier in the day and drank alcohol before the collision, documents said.

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

Summers is still jailed on $500,000 bail. She had about a half-dozen supporters in court Monday.

Defense attorney Ryan Swinburnson said he wanted to reserve arguing for a bail reduction until a later hearing.

If Summers posts bond, she must wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet while awaiting trial.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer
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