Accused driver in deadly car v tree crash blames girlfriend, documents say | News
Car v. tree crash kills one in Yakima; driver in custody | News

Source: NBC RightNow

YAKIMA, Wash. — The driver suspected of crashing into a tree on Lincoln Avenue in a collision that killed one woman and injured another appeared in the Yakima County Court on December 20, according to court documents. 

Shane Dillian Kroeger, 25, made a preliminary appearance in court and was appointed an attorney. He’s being charged with vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and injury hit-and-run, according to court documents. 

Probable cause documents included a statement from arresting Yakima Police officer Darius Williams. He said officers were waved over to the collision by a woman in the road, who then ran away. 

The first officer on scene, Officer Z. Christensen, noted the Subaru Impreza had been driven off the road and into a tree. Both front airbags had gone off, but no one was in the driver or front passenger seat, according to the probable cause documents. He noted the “strong odor of intoxicants” and Modelo seltzers on the floor of the backseat. 

It was then that Christensen saw Alicia Ashby in the backseat, reportedly unresponsive. He tried to wake her up before taking her out of the car to perform CPR. When medics arrived, they took over the lifesaving efforts and took Ashby to the hospital, according to Williams. 

Around this time, Officer Harrison Sargent was headed to the scene when he saw a man in a red sweatshirt, dark pants and a dark hat run west on Lincoln Ave, across N 1st St. Sargent approached him and then detained him, due to his unusual behavior and how close he was to the collision, according to the probable cause documents. It was particularly unusual to be running outside at this time as it was just after 5 a.m. on a Monday, with temperatures around 15 degrees. 

The man was identified as Kroeger, according to the probable cause documents. While Sargent searched Kroeger for weapons, he told the officer that his “girl” had slapped him and swerved the wheel, causing the crash and making him angry. After being read his Miranda rights, Kroeger told Sargent that his girlfriend had been in the front passenger seat and his friend, Alicia, was in the backseat. He claimed he had told his girlfriend that he didn’t want to be with her before she slapped him and caused the crash. 

Sargent reported Kroeger’s speech was extremely slow and slurred, calling for a drug recognition expert. The expert believed the 25-year-old had been under the influence at the time of the crash. He also admitted to the expert that he had been drinking and had taken Xanax the night before, also telling another officer he had used marijuana, cocaine and alcohol before driving. A judge approved a warrant for Kroeger’s blood to be tested, according to the court documents. 

Officer Williams learned Ashby had died in the operating room from the injuries. An online fundraiser has been created to honor her memory, which has already raised over $9,000. 

“She was an extremely loved individual, a beloved daughter, sister, vital family member and a friend,” said Alexandra Ashby on GoFundMe. “She impacted so many lives with her laughter and jokes. She was an overwhelming light of happiness and love. If you knew her, you loved her.” 

Kroeger’s bail was set at $250,000, with note that he has a prior felony conviction and has served time. He will appear in court next for his arraignment on January 3, 2023 at 9 a.m.