Tacoma, WA- A Tacoma man was heading home after a night of drinking with friend when he made an abrupt U-turn on Interstate 5, running head-on into a Seattle area woman on her way to work.
Documents from the King County Prosecutors say that Michael Robertson was going back home to Tacoma just after 5:00 a.m. April 4th, when he entered Interstate 5 at the Montlake Boulevard exit onto the 520 ramp. Robertson should have been going south on Interstate 5, after discovering his mistake, he made a U-turn “in one motion,” and began driving in the wrong direction, according the Seattle Times.
Robertson’s vehicle, which was barreling at or above 100 mph, rounded a curve and slammed head-into Morgan Williams, who was traveling eastbound on Interstate 5 headed to her job at Eddie Bauer in Redmond.
When emergency personnel arrived, Williams, a 58 year-old mother of two grown children, was trapped in her vehicle with “catastrophic injuries,” the Times said. Once Williams was extricated she was taken to Harborview Hospital where she died a few hours later.
The King County prosecutor’s charge sheet said Robertson had spent the evening drinking with friends in some Seattle clubs. He had an open bottle of whiskey in the passenger’s front seat, and showed signs of intoxication, including confusion, blood-shot eyes and slurred speech.
Robertson was also trapped in his vehicle suffering from a broken ankle. He was taken to Harborview Hospital where police arrested him in absentia.
Robertson told police he only had a couple of drinks with friends and insisted that someone had slipped him a drug. According to reports, Robertson repeatedly tried to exit the vehicle and “go home”
Robertson was charged with vehicular homicide which can carry a penalty of up to 8 ½ years in jail. The Seattle Times learned that he has a previous DUI charge from Tacoma.
According to court documents obtained by the Times, Robertson was arrested for drunk driving last December. In January, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and his case is still pending, but a judge order him to refrain from drinking or doing drugs. The judge didn’t however order him to have an ignition interlock device installed into his vehicle.
Just days prior to Williams’ death, another repeat drunk driver, who was supposed to have an ignition interlock device, plowed into a family as they crossed the street in a Wedgwood area. Dennis and Judy Schulte who were walking with their new granddaughter and their daughter-in-law were killed. The new mother and her infant were in serious condition.
The driver in that accident Mark Mullan had a string of previous DUIs and an obvious drug problem. He denied drinking that day but a breathalyzer showed his BAC was .22, well-above the legal limit.
Repeat drunk and driving is problem in Washington and the rest of the country. For most, being charged with DUI once is enough to learn a valuable lesson, but unfortunately close to 50 percent of those caught drinking and driving once will do it again.