Bail set at $500,000 for suspect in fatal police chase

SEATTLE — A woman suspected of leading police on a high speed chase made her first court appearance, dressed in a suicide-prevention smock.

Police say she was behind the wheel yesterday when she crashed and killed her passenger.

The pursuit ended when that vehicle crashed into a parked garbage truck, the force so great, her passenger died at the scene.

Twenty-eight-year-old Chelsi Louise Mahoney seemed to be looking for someone in the visitor's gallery in King County District Court, dressed in the green smock reserved for suspects considered a danger to themselves.

Prosecutors say she caused the deadly crash on Northeast 125th near 35th Avenue.

It was the end of a chase that began when a Seattle police officer spotted her driving a car that was stolen last week in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.

They also recognized her passenger, 29-year-old Elliott Yearby, because of outstanding warrants.

"I didn't believe it," said a distraught Jaymee, a friend who declined to give her last name. "Like I'm kind of still ... I'm in denial."

She stood not far from where the chase began Monday afternoon. She is taking Yearby's death hard.

"He's more like family," she said, wiping away tears. "He's a good kid. He cared for his friends. And he did what he could to help out. He made stupid choices. But he's a good person."

The court-appointed attorney for the woman accused in his death asked the lawyer to set bail at an amount she might be able to pay. But the judge refused.

"I'm going to grant the state's request for bail in the amount of $500,000," said Judge Catherine McDowall. "I'm extremely concerned for community safety."

One of the charges Mahoney is facing is second-degree murder.

The King County prosecutor says if a person runs from police and causes someone to die, that person can be charged with murder and vehicular homicide.

The prosecutor has until Thursday to file formal charges.