Fatal rollover site investigated as driver appears in court
A 35-year-old man was charged Wednesday with killing his passenger in an alcohol-fueled crash in Pasco.
Juan M. Velasco is expected back in Franklin County Superior Court on March 19 to enter a plea to vehicular homicide.
Prosecutors allege Velasco was driving drunk Sunday evening when he lost control of his car on the Interstate 182 off ramp heading toward Road 68.
His 2003 Acura flipped over, coming to rest on its top in the left median of the highway exit.
Passenger Noe P. Cruz, 37, was pronounced dead at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
Velasco, who was found walking outside of his car, initially told law enforcement he didn’t know what happened or who was driving, according to court documents.
He later admitted to being behind the wheel and said he had one Long Island Iced Tea drink before the 7 p.m. crash. His blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit to drive at 0.099, documents said.
Both men, who are from Pasco, were wearing seat belts in the rollover.
Velasco remains in the Franklin County jail on $250,000 bail. If he posts bond, he must have an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet in place before he can be released.