International student arrested in fatal Auburn car crash

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

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AUBURN, Wash. —

A Green River Community College international student is in big trouble after police said he slammed his car into a power pole, killing one passenger and nearly killing a second.

 The driver is from China, and is being held for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault on $2 million bail, because prosecutors believe he is a serious flight risk. 

 It happened Sunday night off SE 320th Street in Auburn.  Five international students from nearby Green River Community College were in a Volkswagen sedan as it flew down the road. 

According to court documents, the driver, Qiang Liu, lost control doing 70-80 miles per hour in the 35 mile per hour zone.  He did not appear to be impaired. 

 Zhenyu Yang was ejected from the car and was killed instantly; another student is at Harborview Medical Center in critical but stable condition.

 On Wednesday, Green River Community College held an assembly so school officials could offer grief counseling and beg students to be more careful. 

However, a crash like this has happened before.

KIRO archives show that almost exactly three years ago, a car driven by an international student along the same stretch of road burst into flames when he lost control and slammed into a utility pole. 

A female passenger in that accident was burned alive.

 A police source said it’s common for international students at the college to get caught speeing along the road, which is close to campus. 

KIRO 7 asked Green River spokeswoman Katie Rose what the school tells international students about driving and following the law while they’re here.

“The students go through a very intensive process where the go over American rules and regulations,” Rose said.

 Prosecutors have until the end of the week to file formal charges.