• Police say man was killed in Graham crash during suicide of stranger

    By: Colleen West , Digital Editor


    PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A crash near Graham that killed two men has been ruled a murder-suicide, but the murder appears to have been unintentional.

    Deputies said a Ford Mustang driven by a 19-year-old man crossed the center line and slammed into a pickup on the Orting-Kaposwin Highway East and 200th Street East shortly before 11 p.m. Monday.

    The driver of the Mustang, identified as Justin Bell by the Pierce County Medical Examiner, and the driver of the pickup, 56-year-old Steve A Munson of Orting, were killed on impact.

    Bell was from Graham.

    Investigators said Bell was traveling at more than 100 mph.

    According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said deputies discovered a suicide note when they went to notify Bell's family about the crash. "He left a suicide note stating that he was going to get his car up to 120 miles per hour and hit a pole intentionally to commit suicide," Troyer said.  "At that rate of speed, they told me out there that if he made his decision to leave the roadway and if another car got in the way at the last second, there was no altering his direction."

    But instead of hitting a pole, he struck and killed another driver.

    The drivers were the only ones in both vehicles.

    "We did not have any witnesses at the scene. If anyone did see this, we would appreciate it if they'd contact the Sheriff's Department, because we are looking for more information," said Frank Clark with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

    Next Up: