‘I know she was instantly in the hands of God’: 97-year-old woman killed in bedroom by speeding driver who also injured cyclist

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Marysville police say a 42-year-old six-time felon with a suspended license was speeding and driving erratically when he rammed his car through the entrance of a quiet Marysville condo neighborhood, running over and critically injuring a 25-year-old man on a bicycle before smashing through the bedroom of a 97-year-old woman, killing her instantly.

Court records show the driver, 42-year-old Darwin Maurice Caldwell, is being held on charges of Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault, and had been on electronic surveillance after being released from a long federal prison sentence for weapons and drug charges.

The 97-year-old woman’s family--who asked KIRO 7 not to use her last name--identified the woman as “Helen,” a “sweet and loving woman” who was a mother of six and a great grandmother to 30.

Helen’s daughter, Wanda, who lived with her mother and cared for her, told KIRO 7 at first she had no idea a speeding car had just blasted all the way through Helen’s bedroom and forced her bed into the next room.

“Loudest noise I’ve ever heard,” she said. “It felt like an earthquake. All I could see was this debris, that was coming out of my mom’s room, there was this big huge beam coming down and tons of debris.”

Wanda says she saw a headlight and no sign of her mother.

Outside, she saw her neighbor, 25-year-old Sudin Johnson, on the lawn, clinging to life. Marysville police say he had been riding home on his bike and stopped to text his father to say he’d made it home safely when the car ran over him and slammed into the house.

Wanda said she saw the driver of the car acting erratically in her yard, claiming someone had been chasing him.

“He’s got a history of eluding police officers, reckless driving, driving under the influence,” said Marysville police Commander Mark Thomas.

Police say Caldwell may have been going 80 miles an hour when he sped into the condo community driveway, through a row of trees and into the house.

Wanda said her mother was an “amazing cook, and a woman who was always learning, always playing Sudoku.”

“I know that she was instantly in the hands of God,” she said. “She was an amazing woman, and I love her, and I miss her! It’s not fair the way she was taken. I hope there’s justice.”

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