SEATTLE - The bail hearing for 29-year-old Malika Pa was awash in tears, including from Pa herself. She cried as her mother pleaded with a judge to release her so she can take care of her 2-year-old daughter.
"Is there anything else that you would like to tell me?" King County District Judge Arthur Chapman asked. Dena Pa replied, "I want you to help her."
The accident happened early Saturday morning. Seattle police said Pa was driving a black SUV southbound on 23rd Avenue South near South King Street when she collided with a Saturn traveling in the same direction. Everyone in the Saturn fled as did Pa. Her friend, identified in court documents as Teke Gebreselase, was ejected from the SUV and died where she lay.
Pa returned to the scene a short time later with her mother. A man she had just met was driving ahead of her in another car. He insisted to us that the other driver was at fault.
"The car swerved in front of her, he hits his brakes, she couldn't hit her brakes in time," said the man who asked us not to identify him. "So she swerves out of the way to avoid hitting the car. And the car just all of a sudden made a sharp left hand turn which pushed her onto the sidewalk."
Pa's public defender alluded to the eyewitness account in asking King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman for a lower bail than the $150,000 bail sought by the prosecutor.
"There is evidence that she did consume alcohol before this tragic event," said Judge Chapman. "I think it is appropriate that some bond be set."
He set her bail at $25,000.