Charges filed against cop in crash that killed pedestrian in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed charges Wednesday against Michael Smith, the off-duty Auburn police officer who was arrested for a crash that killed a pedestrian in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood last Saturday.

Smith was charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, and hit and run-attended vehicle for the crash in which he struck and killed a 65-year-old man on April 23.

According to charging documents, Smith was driving his 2016 Mercedes northbound on Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle around 10:30 p.m. with his girlfriend in the front passenger seat.

Just past the intersection of Alaskan Way and Madison Street, Smith struck the right rear of a taxi that had a passenger inside. The fender-bender caused minor damage and no one was injured.

Both cars stopped and Smith exited his car, opened the front passenger door of the taxi and tried to remove the driver.

Unsuccessful, Smith then tried to open the driver’s side door. When the taxi driver said that he was calling police, Smith returned to his car and sped off northbound on Alaskan Way.

10 minutes later, Smith was seen speeding northbound on 15th Avenue West

A witness saw Smith passing traffic using the oncoming southbound lane.

Another witness estimated Smith was traveling at 80 mph. Data later obtained from his car’s crash data recorder showed he was going 85 mph on the 30 mph road just five seconds before crashing.

Smith tried turning right onto Gilman Drive West but could not stay in the curb lane until the intersection.

He drove onto the sidewalk, sideswiped a telephone pole, and struck a 65-year-old man, killing him almost instantly.

Smith told police that the pedestrian “came out of nowhere and boom, I hit him.”

Smith continued driving out of control through an uphill grassy embankment, striking three metal mailboxes before finally stopping against the northern curb of the westbound lane of Gilman Drive West, about 100 feet from where he drove up onto the sidewalk.

After the crash, Smith stumbled out of his car and told a witness that the man he had hit was okay, but a witness pointed and said, “he’s not.”

Smith’s girlfriend was uninjured and did not cooperate.

Officers who were called to the scene noted signs that Smith was impaired, such as his difficulty in answering basic questions as to where he was going or where he lived. One officer noted that Smith had watery eyes and that he stumbled to the officer’s patrol car.

Smith told officers that he and his girlfriend had been at the Mariners game, where he had consumed two mixed alcoholic drinks. He refused to do any field sobriety tests.

A drug recognition expert was called to the scene to evaluate Smith, and they noticed that Smith’s eyes were watery and bloodshot and that he smelled of alcohol. That officer placed Smith under arrest for vehicular homicide/DUI.

Smith’s blood sample was collected for toxicological testing, the results of which are still pending.

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