Friends remember Microsoft engineer killed in Redmond crash

by: Gary Horcher Updated:

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For those who loved and worked with 30-year-old Mike Ey, he was a man who made life better for those around him while he was in the process of trying to change the world.

"He was the most reliable person ever," said Ey's girlfriend, Kelley Piering. "You could ask him anything and he would make sure it got done, whether he knew how to do it or not."

Friends say Ey's professional passion was perfecting "HoloLens," Microsoft's new "augmented reality" tool in development that blends the digital world with the real world. The technology will eventually enable anyone to create and interact with three-dimensional holographic images in real space.

"He said it was the coolest thing ever," Piering said. "It's looking at the future while holding the present. Mike said it wasn't perfect but it was going to be one day."

Early Saturday morning, all those big personal career dreams were shattered when Ey's car was rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver going over 100 miles an hour on State Route 520, according to police.

Max Scott said he saw the driver, Robert Malsch, speed toward Ey's car.

"I saw his car just blast past me," said Scott. "He missed me by about four inches. Several seconds later, I just see him a smoldering wreck in the road."

Malsch, who was seen running away from the scene, was captured by Redmond police who used a dog to track him. He faces vehicular homicide and felony hit and run charges. On Monday, a King County judge ordered Malsch held on $100,000 bail.

Now Ey's friends are left with memories of a "bright light" with big plans and goals that have been suddenly interrupted.

"He really was a tremendous friend," said Philippe Johnson, who was the last to see Ey alive early Saturday morning. "The word reliable doesn't even begin to describe it. I can't tell you how many times he would just come over to help with whatever you were doing."

Friends say Ey was a cautious driver who never drank alcohol. They told KIRO 7 that they hope other drivers will remember Ey's story before grabbing the keys.

"Take the time to think about what you're going to do before you drive someplace," said Ey's friend, Pete Chochran. "My dad only had to tell me once not to drive angry, and that's just being angry, that's just being emotional!"

Ey was raised in New Jersey and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he met Piering, Johnson, and Cochran, who now live in Woodinville and Seattle.

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