COVINGTON, Wash. — A Covington woman says she barely knew a man police say caused a fatal crash in Fife.
Kelli Amondson took one glance at the KIRO 7 images of the mangled stolen car which rammed three cars and killed a woman while racing away from police Thursday morning, and she knew the car at the center of it all was hers.
"That car was my baby," said Amondson. "I used that car to make a living for my kids. It makes me sick knowing that my car did that, because I could never imagine my car hurting somebody, ever."
Fife police say 43-year-old Michel Donovan Beal, who'd been in and out of prison recently, sped away from Puyallup Tribal Police when they tried to pull him over. John Weymer, a spokesman for the Puyallup Tribe, said a tribal officer ran the plate on the car, saw it was stolen, and tried to pull over the driver.
Weymer said the officer did not pursue the stolen car at a high rate of speed, but the driver sped through a red light to elude police.
Witnesses along Pacific Highway East told KIRO 7 the car was heading into an intersection at about 70 mph when it slammed into three other cars, killing a 54-year-old woman who was waiting to make a left turn.
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Police say Beal ran from the wreckage, but was caught by police at an auto dealership a block away.
Amondson says friends introduced her to Beal in Auburn last week. He asked her for a ride home, but she says he took her keys and stole the car she used for two jobs to support her four kids, including one job as a Lyft driver.
"I do drive for Lyft and I was starting to get somewhere," said Amondson. "I was hoping for a house for me and my four kids by the end of the summer, and now everything just went down the drain."
Amondson put photos of her car on Facebook, hoping a friend or police would find it so she could work again. Now it's regarded as evidence in a potential murder case, and she believes that will slow her insurance claim.
"It was my first car I'd bought alone as a single mom, and it's sickening," Amondson said. "Now I'm trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to get another vehicle?"
Amondson's family started a GoFundMe page to help her get access to a vehicle to work while the investigation continues.
Cox Media Group