PUYALLUP, Wash. - Puyallup police arrested a 19-year-old woman for vehicular assault and impaired driving Monday afternoon after they say she sped through a stop sign, plowed into a bicyclist and slammed into the side of a wall of the Washington State Fair.
The 66-year-old man on the bicycle, identified as Eric Renz, was rushed to the hospital with injuries police described as devastating. He remained in critical condition at a Tacoma Hospital Tuesday.
Ninth Avenue SW between South Meridian and Fairview Drive was closed for hours as officials investigated the crash.
“We thought something had hit our house, it was that loud,” said neighbor Talleen Foerster, who lives right across the street. Foerster told KIRO 7 she saw the injured cyclist unconscious on the ground, and two passengers in the car acting strangely.
“The two male passengers didn't attend to the victim that was hit,” she said. “They immediately pulled out the female driver, then they went back into the car, rummaging through things.”
Puyallup police say the driver, identified Tuesday as Kallie James, showed obvious signs of impairment. They said she never hit the brakes. They released the two male passengers.
“She has been taken into custody for vehicular assault,” said Puyallup Police Captain Scott Engle.
James is expected to be arraigned in Pierce County Superior Court on vehicular assault charges Wednesday.
Foerster told KIRO 7 the driver and passengers came from a house down the road notoriously known to neighbors for what they believe is chronic drug traffic.
“It's a little bit frustrating that someone might die now, with this house selling drugs. It's known it's known by everyone, including police,’’ she said.
The victim is a local activist who ran for the state legislature this year, but lost.
“He's very active in the community, very active in many causes, just an upstanding upstanding citizen,” Engle said. “Very dedicated to his community, great public servant and an all around good guy."
KIRO 7 will follow the victim’s progress at a Tacoma Hospital, and track the case against the driver.