• Woman killed by driver fleeing from police in Fife

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    FIFE, Wash. - A suspect fleeing from a police officer rammed a stolen car into an innocent driver Thursday, killing her.

    The crash, on Pacific Highway in Fife, also involved two other drivers who were not seriously hurt.

     

    John Weymer, a spokesman for the Puyallup Tribe, said a tribal officer ran the plate on the car, saw it was stolen, and tried to pull over the driver.

    >> PHOTOS: Fleeing driver causes fatal crash

    Instead, Weymer said the driver took off and the officer pursued him at "not a high rate of speed."

    According to court documents obtained by KIRO-7 on Friday Beal accelerated to over 70 miles per hour and went into oncoming traffic before the deadly crash.

    Weymer said the officer was four blocks away when the suspect blew through a red light and t-boned a woman trying to make a left turn.

    She died at the scene.

    The woman killed has been identified as 53-year-old Janice Porcher of Bremerton.

    Washington State Ferries says Porcher worked on the ferries for 9 years as an ordinary seaman, on the deck of the ferry. She worked most recently on the Kingston-Edmonds run, according to WSF.

     

    Video from Chopper 7 over the scene showed five cars that appeared to be involved in the crash.


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    "It's scary, it is, I'm shook up and someone lost a family member, it's very sad," said witness Collin Hamilton, who helped the other crash victims.

    The suspect, Michel Donavan Beal, appeared in court on Friday for investigation of second degree murder, vehicular homicide, hit and run, attempting to elude a police officer, and escaping from community custody. 

    Michel Beal (Credit: Washington Department of Corrections)
    Washington Department of Corrections

    Beal has an extensive criminal history. In court on Friday the judge said he had at least two outstanding warrants. The prosecution said Beal has had over 65 previous warrants.

    KIRO-7 found Beal has convictions for drug charges, theft, assault, violating protections orders, and possessing deadly weapons. The prosecutor said it was unlikely he would return to court and asked for bail to be set at $1.5 million dollars. The judge agreed and set bail at $1.5 million.

     

     

     


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