DES MOINES, Wash. - A 22-year-old Des Moines man is facing vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run charges after prosecutors say he crashed his passenger’s car after drinking, pulled her out of the passenger seat and over to the driver’s side door and then left the scene.
Prosecutors say the 35-year-old victim picked up Gunner Dillion Murray, 21, at a friend’s house in North Seattle on Saturday, Sept. 8, after she met him a few weeks ago.
The two visited several bars, where Murray consumed several drinks and started to become belligerent as they headed toward South King County, according to charging documents.
Detectives said that by 1 a.m., as the woman was driving Murray back to his house in Des Moines, he kept grabbing her arm and demanding to drive. The victim told officers that eventually, she pulled over and let Murray take the wheel.
The victim said Murray began driving erratically and so fast that it scared her, according to probable cause documents.
Around 2 a.m., the two stopped at a 7-Eleven on Kent-Des Moines Road, where Murray bought beer. While Murray was in the store, the victim got into the driver’s seat, but when Murray returned to the car, he insisted on driving, and after arguing in the parking lot for a few minutes, she relented and let him take the driver’s seat, court documents said.
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Prosecutors later said the store’s security cameras showed Murray buying the beer inside as well as Murray getting into the driver’s seat of the victim’s car after talking with the victim in the parking lot.
According to prosecutors, the victim told police that within a few minutes of taking the wheel, Murray was “driving erratically, speeding and tailgating another vehicle,” and then crossed the double yellow line into the oncoming lane while trying to pass the car in front of him.
A witness driving the car that Murray was trying to pass told detectives that while Murray was trying to pass him, Murray lost control of the car and drove into a ditch, which launched the car into the air, police said. It flipped over before landing upright again on Des Moines Memorial Drive near South 212th Street, probable cause documents said.
The witness, who called police after the crash, told officers that he then saw the driver, later identified as Murray, get out of the car, leave the driver’s door open, walk over to the passenger’s side, open the door and drag the victim to the driver’s side of her car, detectives said.
The witness said Murray then propped the woman up next to the driver’s door, which was still open, then walked back, closed the passenger door and left the scene, according to police.
Prosecutors said the woman was crying and bleeding from an open hand fracture.
Investigators said Murray was last seen walking toward his home, which was about a 20-minute walk away, and never notified police.
Prosecutors say Murray left his fingerprints all over the driver’s seat and door and the position of the driver’s seat was consistent with someone of Murray’s weight and height. Murray is documented as 6 feet, 4 inches tall, while the victim is only 5 feet, 4 inches tall.
Detectives said when the victim got into the driver’s seat during the crash investigation, she could barely touch the foot pedals and steering wheel.
Police said despite several visits to his home and phone messages left for Murray, he never contacted police. Officers said another man, who said he was calling on Murray’s behalf, called police and wanted to know what evidence police had in the case.
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