Lewellen

Clinton man charged in fatal crash

The Clinton man involved in a fatal car accident involving a moped on Memorial Day has been charged with vehicular homicide.

The Island County Prosecutor’s Office charged Jeffrey Lewellen, 30, in Island County Superior Court on Thursday. He is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 12 in Coupeville.

Lewellen is suspected of being at fault in a vehicle-versus-moped collision on Bailey Road near Scatchet Head Road that killed Diane Sturlaugson, a 69-year-old Lake Stevens resident. If he’s convicted, Lewellen could spend 26 to 34 months in jail under the standard sentencing range.

Police suspect he may have been intoxicated, however, and if proven true the standard sentence range increases to 110 to 138 months in jail.

According to the police report, witnesses reported seeing Lewellen’s gray Honda Civic travelling at a high speed and “attempting to pass other vehicles by crossing over the centerline” when the collision occurred. Lewellen later confirmed the witness statements, allegedly telling a state trooper that the accident occurred while he was negotiating a curve in the opposing lane of traffic. A moped was “suddenly right in front of him” and Lewellen couldn’t avoid Sturlaugson, wrote Trooper Brent Ashton with the Washington State Patrol.

“He added that the crash was all his fault and that whatever I needed to do was OK,” Ashton wrote in the report.

Lewellen was often apologetic about the events, but at times was “melancholy and contrite, while at other times he became argumentative and made threats to urinate in my patrol vehicle,” according to the report.

The report goes on to state that Ashton smelled “a strong odor of intoxicants,” while speaking with Lewellen. Lewellen agreed to field sobriety tests and said he had drank one beer at 4 p.m., about four hours prior to the wreck. He added he had used medical marijuana two nights earlier.

During the tests, Lewellen was reported to have swayed from side to side “by approximately three to four inches in all directions.” In later tests, he stepped offline.

After arresting him for suspicion of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, Ashton found that Lewellen was driving with a suspended license. The officer then successfully applied for a search warrant for a blood test, the results of which are still pending.

The police report also mentions that two passengers in the vehicle fled the scene on foot before law enforcement arrived. Clinton resident Bert Harvey, who lives near the crash site, said he saw two men grab backpacks out of the car and head for Scatchet Head.

“I triaged all three before starting compressions on Diane,” Harvey said. “They grabbed backpacks out of the car and ran while others were trying to save the victim’s life.”