Fatal rollover site investigated as driver appears in court
The driver of a car that crashed Sunday evening in Pasco is suspected of being drunk and may be charged with vehicular homicide.
People started calling 911 about 7 p.m. Sunday after a car lost control on a curve on the off ramp from Interstate 182 onto Road 68 in Pasco and flipped.
They said one man appeared to be seriously hurt and another man was walking around outside the car, according to court documents filed in Franklin County Superior Court.
A passenger, Noe P. Cruz, 37, of Pasco, was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, where he died, said the Washington State Patrol.
Juan Manuel Velasco, 35, of Pasco, told a WSP trooper at the crash that he did not know what had happened or who was driving, said court documents.
His eyes were bloodshot and watery, according to the trooper.
Velasco was not injured but was taken to Kadlec, where he then told investigators that he thought he was driving the crashed 2003 Acura four-door that he owned, according to court documents.
Driver in the Franklin County jail
Velasco told police he had “a couple drinks,” but then he said he had just one cocktail, a Long Island Iced Tea, according to court documents.
He agreed to take a breathalyzer test, which registered a blood alcohol level of 0.099 percent, according to court documents. The state’s legal limit for drunk driving is 0.08.
Velasco was booked into the Franklin County jail late Sunday night.
On Monday, Judge Alex Ekstrom in Franklin County Superior Court found there was enough evidence to hold him for 72 hours on investigation of vehicular homicide.
Bail was set at $250,000.
Velasco was apparently driving west on the highway when he took the Road 68 exit, overcorrected and the car rolled, landing on its top, said the WSP.
Both men were wearing seat belts.