Crime

Ex-pastor convicted of vehicular homicide arrested in Nevada

Former Kennewick pastor Randall Foos may be on his way to prison soon for killing a 19-year-old Kennewick bicycle rider in 2003.

On Friday, he was arrested in Clark County, Nev., on a warrant for failing to appear for sentencing for his vehicular homicide conviction.

The warrant was issued Oct. 22 when Foos failed to turn himself in 30 days after losing his latest appeal, said Terry Bloor, Benton County deputy prosecutor.

Foos was sentenced in November 2006 to one year and three months in prison in the death of Sara Casey and had been ordered to return to court to be sent to prison.

"I'm sure the family and friends of Sara Casey will be glad that the conviction is again affirmed and it looks like he'll start serving his time," Bloor said.

Foos was pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Kennewick when on Sept. 17, 2003, his Jeep Grand Cherokee struck Sara's bicycle from behind.

Foos, then 54, was headed home from the church when the crash occurred on Clearwater Avenue, almost two miles west of Columbia Center Boulevard. He was traveling at about 40 mph.

Casey, a college student and 2002 graduate of Southridge High School, was riding side by side with a friend.

Motorists testified at trial that Foos didn't swerve until after he hit Sara, at which time he braked. Casey's helmet broke in the crash, and she died six days later at a Spokane hospital.

Foos said his eyesight was fine on the day of the crash and that he was blinded by the sunlight, or that Sara's bicycle was near the middle of the lane. Foos had been diagnosed with three eye diseases while his eyesight fluctuated in the year before the wreck, according to trial testimony.

"Our goal all along has been to raise awareness that people with severe medical impairments need to be held accountable when they choose to drive and put others at risk," Lori Casey, Sara's mother, said Friday.

"Randall Foos is finally being held accountable," she said.

In January 2009, Foos lost an appeal with the state Court of Appeals.

"Although none of Mr. Foos' doctors could cite the precise condition of Mr. Foos' vision on Sept. 17, the inferences from their testimony establish that his vision was seriously impaired on that date," the appeals opinion stated. "Mr. Foos' decision to ignore his impaired vision and the advice of his doctors establishes that he drove with disregard for the safety of others."

More recently, Foos asked the Washington State Supreme Court to hear his case, but it denied his request for review.

He then had 30 days to turn himself in, and when he didn't, Benton County Judge Vic VanderSchoor issued a warrant, said Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.

Foos apparently had been living in Las Vegas while he appealed his conviction and in 2006 started serving as pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in the downtown area. Information was not available Friday about whether he still lived in Las Vegas or was serving as a pastor there, but he was arrested in the area.

The Fugitive Task Force of the U.S. Marshall's office in Richland assisted Kennewick Detective Randy McCalmant in the arrest. McCalmant is assigned to the task force.

Foos is being held in the Clark County Jail and is awaiting extradition to Kennewick.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com

  Comments