- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - A Washington man accused of driving an SUV that struck four high school students out walking during gym class, killing two and seriously injuring two others, was charged Monday with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.

Charging papers filed in Whatcom County Superior Court said William Klein, 34, fell asleep in the passenger seat of his vehicle after the June 10 collision, needed to be shaken awake and didn’t seem to be reacting to the seriousness of the crash, the Bellingham Herald reported (https://is.gd/AkxWnb). The state trooper who made those observations concluded Klein was possibly under the influence of drugs, the documents said.

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said in court last week that the Bellingham man told a trooper at the crash scene that he was sleepy and also acknowledged regular marijuana use as well as past use of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Klein’s lawyer, Michael Brodsky, has said while his client acknowledged past marijuana use he had not used pot on the day of the crash and was not impaired by drugs.

Blood test results are pending.

Klein posted $200,000 bond last Friday and was released from jail. Arraignment is scheduled Friday.

About 30 students from Windward High School in Ferndale, about 13 miles south of the Canadian border, were walking with a teacher when the SUV jumped a curb and struck four teens on a sidewalk, State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis has said. Klein had his 3-year-old son with him. Neither was injured.

Shane Ormiston, 18, and Gabriel Anderson, 15, both of Ferndale, died at the scene.

Michael Brewster of Custer and Kole Randall of Ferndale, both 17, suffered injuries that reportedly included severe leg fractures. Both are recovering.

A State Patrol drug recognition expert who arrived about 1 1/2 hours after the crash found Klein “curled up in the passenger’s seat apparently asleep,” before shaking him to wake him up, charging papers said. The trooper said Klein’s eyes appeared watery and bloodshot.

The drug recognition expert noticed Klein’s speech was slow, and the man “did not seem to be reacting to the horrible collision that had caused the death of two young men and seriously injured two others,” charging papers said.


Information from: The Bellingham Herald, https://www.bellinghamherald.com

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