Man claims sleep apnea is to blame for deadly crash

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The man who plowed his SUV into a crowd of students in Ferndale is on trial for vehicular homicide.

William Klein, 35, admits he was asleep when he drove onto the sidewalk, killing two students and injuring two more, outside Windward High School in June 2015.




The crash killed 15-year-old Gabriel Anderson and 18-year-old Shane Ormiston. The two other 17-year-old boys, Kole Randall and Michael Brewster, were injured.

[See photos of the victims, incident scene and community following the crash.]

Klein's attorney, Michael Brodsky,  claims sleep apnea is to blame for Klein falling asleep as he drove in his Toyota 4-Runner with his 3-year-old son in the back seat. Brodsky said the condition kept Klein from getting restful sleep. The defense said the crash was an accident and Klein didn't have disregard for the safety of others because he didn't know he had sleep apnea.

Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Dave McEachran says Klein admitted in a recorded interview with a detective that he usually only slept about four hours a night before going to his early-morning shift at Trader Joe's.

McEachran said Klein said he had been sick. The prosecutor said Klein had trouble keeping up at work that day and that it was so obvious a co-worker noticed it and even mentioned it to Klein.

The prosecutor said Klein's decision to drive was a disregard for the safety of others.

Klein is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.

Relatives of the victims were in the court room and have been coming each day since the trial started last week. Klein took the stand Tuesday in his own defense before closing arguments.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Wednesday morning.

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