Driver who killed flagger collapses in court, is sentenced to jail

SEATTLE — Andrew Richwine stood before a judge awaiting his second sentencing for vehicular homicide Friday afternoon and suddenly collapsed to the floor. He stood up quickly with the help of his attorney.

Richwine admitted he glanced at his phone before causing the crash that severely injured Cody Meyer, 23. Meyer was working as a flagger on Cedar Grove Road near Issaquah in December 2015 when he was struck. He died from his injuries five months later. 

Richwine contested his first sentencing, and a year later he was back in court to be re-sentenced.

Cody Meyer's mother, Tina Meyer, expressed her frustration to the judge.

"I asked for mercy the first time around. I don't anymore," said Tina Meyer.

As part of a plea deal, Richwine pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in 2017.

At the first sentencing in April 2017 Cody Meyer's mother showed compassion and mercy. She didn't want jail time for Richwine, who is a stay at-home dad, because he would have to be away from his family. 
His defense attorney, Todd Maybrown, and Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Amy Friedheim had agreed to a sentence that included more than 200 hours of community service so Richwine could warn others about the dangers of distracted driving.  

King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Moore instead sentenced Richwine to six months of work release. She arranged for him to leave the jail for 12 hours a day to go home to care for his children. 

At the sentencing, Judge Moore made a comment about Richwine's race and socioeconomic status. His defense attorney contested the sentence. 

The prosecution joined the motion, agreeing that the comments by Judge Moore demonstrated an appearance of bias. Both sides wanted Judge Moore to recuse herself. When she didn't, the case went to the Washington State Court of Appeals. 

The Court of Appeals remanded the sentence and called for a new judge because there was an appearance of bias.

While the prosecution and defense were bound by their previous plea deal, it did not prevent the new judge from imposing a difference sentence.

On Friday, King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde sentenced Richwine to 60 days in jail and 240 hours of community service.

"I love it. If he had to sit there for 90 days, two years, I would love it at this point," said Tina Meyer. "When this happened he had one child. He has three now and I still have one less child and that will never change."

Tina Meyer testified in Olympia and helped get legislators to pass the latest cellphone law.

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