Woman charged with felony assault after multi-vehicle pileup
Heather Lee, 26, pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular assault Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court. She appeared via video camera from the jail. Lee has been locked up since her June 3 arrest.
Her attorney tried to convince a judge to release Lee on Friday, saying his client doesn't have any prior criminal convictions. Lee, he said, is a full-time student who missed her final exams and is hoping to make them up.
She also has medical issues that may soon require surgery, he said. Lee's left leg was bandaged and she used crutches to walk Friday.
Judge David Kurtz declined to set Lee free and kept bail at $100,000. If Lee posts bail, she is prohibited from driving until the case is resolved, the judge ordered.
The June 2 crash happened about 6:30 p.m. on a dry, straight stretch of the highway. Lee was eastbound, headed toward Sultan, with two children in the backseat. She reportedly told troopers that the children were fighting and she turned her head to check on them.
In front of her, a Chevrolet Blazer was stopped to make a left turn. A white minivan was stopped behind the Blazer.
Lee reportedly swerved and clipped the white minivan. She then struck a second minivan head-on. Another vehicle swerved to avoid the wreck and landed in a ditch.
A dozen people, ages 1 to 72, were involved in the pile-up.
Three people, including two boys, ages 10 and 13, were taken to Harborview Medical Center with severe injuries, including broken bones and internal wounds that required surgery.
Lee was taken to the hospital. A breath test didn't show any signs that Lee was drunk but troopers reported that she appeared to be under the influence. Troopers found a marijuana pipe in the vehicle, court papers said.
Lee reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day. Troopers obtained a search warrant to draw Lee's blood for testing. The charging papers don't say if Lee tested positive for marijuana use.
Her attorney argued Friday that so far prosecutors haven't provided any evidence showing that the crash was anything other than an accident.
The two children in Lee's vehicle reportedly said that Lee was eating and driving, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote. One child told a paramedic that Lee was steering her vehicle with her knees.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.
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