The ongoing accident investigation…

From my journal dated August 31, 2002:

We (the Christiansons, Joe, Jenna and I) met today with the Snohomish County Deputy handling the accident investigation to go over the case they had presented to the prosecutor. It’s odd…I remember the deputy being older than he actually is. The last time we saw him was the week Jason and Alina died.

Marie invited us to breakfast at their house and the deputy came a bit later. Marie brought out pictures they had put up at Alina’s memorial service. She had some really cute pictures, some with Jason I had never seen before. It was a little awkward at first…we hadn’t actually seen each other since graduation in May.

The deputy went through some things regarding the accident. Since Brian is a witness and will have to testify at the trial, the deputy was very careful not to say anything specific about what they feel the speed range of the Eclipse was. He doesn’t want any preconceived ideas or thoughts put in Brian’s head before he has to testify.

The deputy went through what they feel happened, car-wise, in the accident. Another deputy had put together a poster board with drawings of the accident, intersection, location of cars, etc. It’s all very sobering to look at…very weighty.

He went through the major participants and witnesses – J.H. (driver of the car that hit Jason), D.P. (owner of the car), two other guys and two other girls (ages 15 and 16) who were hanging out together before the accident. They were at J.H.’s house, which was also where D.P. was living at the time, and the parents were out of town. J.H. and D.P. went out to buy beer and somehow also got ahold of some rum. They were playing a card game called “King’s Cup.” Whenever any of them drew a king, they had to take a swig from their cup.

At some point, they decided to take one of the two girls home, so everyone except J.H, piled into a Bronco owned guy one of the guys and took off. The owner/driver (of the Bronco) ended up being too drunk to drive, so D.P. took over. As they were driving down 180th, D.P.’s Eclipse passed them at a high rate of speed with J.H. driving. Right after that, they saw the accident.

D.P. says he saw J.H. walking away, but they didn’t stop to pick him up. The five kids in the Bronco went by the accident, turned around, and drove by it again without stopping. They went to a nearby Texaco gas station to discuss what to do.

After some discussion, they went to someone’s house and a parent advised them to report the car stolenlike they had no idea what had happened and weren’t involved. The deputy feels that no one will give much credence to the “my car was stolen” statement. Too many things point to knowledge that J.H. was driving D.P.’s car.

Somehow J.H. got home and called his girlfriend to come over. She said she thought he was suicidal. Initially, J.H. told the deputies he was home all night, knew nothing about the accident, that the injury to his face was from a fight down by Bothell High School. His girl friend backed him up, saying she had been with him all night. By 4:30 a.m. or so, though, she called back to say she’d done a stupid thing and now wanted to tell the truth.

The deputies didn’t find J.H. right away, because they went to the registered address of the car, which was different from the driver’s home address. As a result, too much time passed in order to test his actual blood alcohol content at the time of the accident. They can’t arrest or charge him with drunk driving.

The Deputy brought pictures of the accident scene for us to see, too, if we wanted to. He had hidden the more gruesome ones, but they were still hard to see. The impact was so hard and right on the driver’s door. It’s incredible how much damage was done to Jason’s Cavalier.

I looked at a few pictures, but couldn’t handle many. It’s just so hard to think of Jason absorbing that much impact…directly on the body of my precious boy. I’m sure they have pictures of Jason and Alina in the car, but I never want to see them.

It was such a draining morning.

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