A Benton City man pleaded innocent Thursday to allegations he was driving drunk and in a reckless manner when he got into a crash in Finley, killing a back seat passenger.
Ty A. Moore claims the other car was going too fast on Highway 397 when it hit him, according to court documents.
However, witnesses told investigators that Moore’s Buick Regal failed to stop at the stop sign on East Bowles Road and drove into the path of a Toyota Camry, documents show.
Moore, 31, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with vehicular homicide for the Oct. 23 collision.
His trial is scheduled Dec. 14.
Moore reportedly was headed west at 11:20 p.m. when he approached the highway, also known as Chemical Drive, and didn’t stop.
His Buick was crossing the highway when it was struck by the southbound Toyota, driven by Rosa E. Lemos.
Deputy Prosecutor Megan Killgore, in charging Moore, said he was driving with disregard for the safety of others.
Moore’s passenger, Fawn J. White, was pronounced dead at the scene after being thrown from the Buick. The 34-year-old Hermiston woman was not wearing a seat belt.
Her 3-year-old son was next to her in the back seat. The boy, along with a front seat passenger and Lemos, were all treated at a Tri-City hospital.
Washington State Patrol troopers at the scene noted that Moore smelled of alcohol and had water and bloodshot eyes, court documents said.
He refused to let paramedics check his vitals, so a trooper drove Moore to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland to have his blood drawn for testing.
An autopsy done Tuesday by the Benton County Coroner’s Office showed that White died as a result of the crash.
Judge Vic VanderSchoor on Thursday reduced Moore’s bail to $75,000 from $100,000.
The judge also told Moore that if he posts bail, he is not to drink alcohol or drive while his case is pending.