Speeding Driver Causes Deadly Crash While Fleeing in 'Stolen' Car
Deadly Crash While Fleeing in Stolen Car

Photo courtesy of Pierce County Sheriff Department

January 17, 2024 – A deadly multiple-vehicle collision in Fredrickson, Washington, on Wednesday has left a 64-year-old woman dead, one driver, her daughter, facing potential vehicular homicide charges, and a second driver facing felony hit-and-run charges.

The incident occurred around 5:42 pm at 176th Street East and 70th Avenue East. According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD), a 26-year-old woman was speeding in a white Subaru when she ran two red lights. As she entered the intersection, a pickup truck with a 41-year-old driver was making a legal U-turn. The pickup collided with the driver’s side of the Subaru.

A white van chasing the speeding Subaru also crashed into the Subaru before fleeing the scene. The van’s driver initially called authorities claiming the Subaru was stolen and he was chasing after it, but later said his van had been stolen and he could not return. The man is now facing felony hit-and-run charges.

The Subaru driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was seriously injured and transported to the hospital. Her passenger, 64-year-old mother, who was also not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 26-year-old now faces potential vehicular homicide charges.

The pickup truck driver and his 2-year-old child in a car seat were unharmed in the collision. According to a family member, the Subaru had not been stolen, and the 26-year-old woman had been driving it for weeks after an argument with its registered owner.

The PCSD said this incident marks their first homicide of 2024. They continue to search for the driver of the fleeing white van to press charges.

An Insurance Agent’s Perspective

When reading tragic stories such as this, as an insurance agent, I must speak out on the importance of carrying adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

Even though the pickup driver holds no fault in this heartbreaking loss of life, he could have faced significant financial vulnerability if the negligent drivers injured him or his young child. With the genuine possibility that neither of the other drivers had adequate insurance coverage, if any, the pickup driver would have had no way to be compensated for expenses from injuries or vehicle damage if his policy lacked robust UM/UIM protection.

UM/UIM coverage protects you if you are the victim of a hit-and-run or a driver who does not have insurance or is underinsured. This coverage acts as a safety net when the other party cannot adequately pay for damages they caused.

One reason to carry more than the state minimum liability limits is that it will allow you to increase your UM/UIM. Increasing liability coverage from 25/50/25 to 50/100/50 or 100/300/100 is usually inexpensive and allows you to increase your UM/UIM to match.

PIP medical is also a critical coverage to have in such situations. It pays for treatment due to accident injuries and lost wages regardless of who caused the collision. Having at least $10,000 in PIP is wise, and $35,000 would be better given how quickly hospital visits, surgeries, and physical therapy expenses can pile up.

While I hope my clients never face such tragedy on the road, adequate UM/UIM and PIP coverage provides some reassurance by helping offset the burden of auto accidents. Regularly review your car insurance with your agent to confirm you have adequate protection in place. Loss of life cannot be reversed, but sufficient insurance can help survivors move forward.

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