Driver may have been racing before fatal crash with deputy

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

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KENT, Wash. - At about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, a King County sheriff's deputy patrol car and a blue Acura collided in Kent, killing the teenage driver.

The 17-year-old driver of the Acura was at Harborview Medical Center in very critical condition but died Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m., according to King County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, Sgt. Cindi West.

The deputy had a broken wrist.

Two teen passengers in the Acura were treated and released on the scene.

Sgt. Cindi West, a King County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, said that the patrol car was heading south on West Valley Highway or 68th Avenue South when it hit the Acura on the driver's side as the Acura was going east on 196th Street.

"Our deputy said his light was green. But we need to do a thorough investigation. Obviously, we can't talk to the driver at this point, but we will talk to the passengers and to see if there are any other witnesses," West said.

She later said the passengers told investigators they had been racing just before the accident.

Kent police told KIRO 7 they received reports of street racing in that area earlier Saturday night.

Samuel John said that he and his mom were in a car a short distance behind the Acura. John said there was a second car right behind the Acura, but he couldn't tell what was going on.

"It was foggy. I couldn't really see are they racing," he said.

John also said he wouldn't be surprised to hear about street racing in that area and said that some people like to make money by placing bets on winning cars.

Racing is a popular activity in the industrial park neighborhoods but is strictly prohibited. Signs are posted on many street corners in the area stating "no racing."

"We don't suspect drugs or alcohol on anybody's part. There was no indication of the scene of that," West said.

But in investigating whether either car was speeding, more tests have to be done.

The speed limit for West Valley Highway where the deputy was traveling is 50 miles per hour, while the speed limit for 196th Street is 35 miles per hour.

The King County deputy will likely be off work because of his injury. He is a seven-year veteran of the force, covering Sound Transit properties all over King County.

It is not known whether he was on duty or going home at the time.