• Chinese student sentenced for fatal crash

    By: David Ham


    Yichun Xu, 20, was sentenced to 17 and a half months in prison for a crash that killed 25-year-old Brenda Gomez.

     Gomez was driving her family to a quinceañera in November of 2012 when Xu blew through a stop sign and crashed into her.

     He told detectives he was distracted by looking at his GPS. Xu had just bought the Mercedes days before the crash. He did not have a driver’s license or auto insurance.

     Brenda Gomez died days after the crash.

     "The only thing I am seeking is justice," Luz Gomez, Brenda Gomez's mother, told the court through an interpreter.

     When Xu was arrested, prosecutors asked for a higher bail because there were fears that he would flee the country.

     He is from China and was studying at a community college with a student visa.

     A judge set Xu's bail at $2 million.

    "Xu had two opportunities to flee but he didn't," said Scott Leist, Xu's attorney.

    Through an interpreter Xu also addressed the court before Judge Richard McDermott handed down his sentence.

    "All I can say is that I do understand my mistake," said Xu.

    Xu's family also paid $550,000 to the Gomez family in a civil settlement.

    Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Xu to 15 months in prison under a plea deal where Xu.

    Judge McDermott decided on 17 and a half months. 

    He said the minimum sentence for this type of crime under these circumstances are 15 months and the maximum is 20 months.

    McDermott decided on a middle ground saying he understands nothing could bring Brenda Gomez back and this was just a horrible, careless mistake. 

    Xu has already served about five months of his sentence in the King County Jail. 

    He'll serve the rest of it in a prison in Shelton. 

    The judge said he will be taken there sometime next week.

    When Xu is finished with his sentence, his attorney said it's likely he will be deported. His student visa has expired.

    Prosecutors said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have already started deportation hearings.

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