The man set to be charged with vehicular homicide in a crash that killed a Hermiston girl will likely face felony charges in a Thurston County, Washington, court.
David Willis was released on bail set at $250,000, and he will be arraigned on Feb. 19.
According to Thurston County court documents, based on interviews with witnesses, investigators have developed probable cause that Willis was operating a vehicle while impaired.
Though Willis’ injuries prevented a full evaluation, investigators said Willis told them he had taken several prescription pain medications, and had smoked marijuana earlier in the day. He told troopers that he also suffered from seizures.
Though he had not been charged as of Wednesday morning, a Thurston County deputy district attorney said there was probable cause for Willis to be charged with vehicular homicide and four counts of reckless endangerment.
Natalya Martinez, 16, of Hermiston, was in the car with her mother, who pulled over on the side of the road when she got a flat tire. While waiting for a tow truck, they were joined by family members in another car, and they waited in that car, a Nissan Altima, behind the disabled vehicle.
While they were waiting, Willis, who was driving a Ford Focus, hit the Altima.
Court documents say that multiple witnesses saw Willis driving erratically, and that at one point he left the roadway and drove onto the shoulder in an attempt to pass slower traffic.
He struck the Altima at freeway speeds, causing both vehicles to rotate violently, and the Focus rolled onto the driver’s side. The collision pushed the rear bumper and trunk of the Altima up to the rear seat.
Martinez, a Hermiston High School junior, died at the scene, and her mother, Dianna Navejar, was taken to the hospital with injuries.
Willis and his 8-year-old daughter, who was in the car with him, were also injured.