Police: Albany woman killed when car hit by wrong-way drunk driver on I-5
MARYSVILLE, Wash. – A 28-year-old woman from Albany, Ore., died Sunday, July 1, in a head-on crash with an intoxicated driver on Interstate 5, according to police.
The man police say is responsible for the crash on I-5 faces multiple charges including vehicular homicide, DUI, driving with no ignition interlock and driving with a suspended license.
He made his first court appearance Monday and is being held on $500,000 bond. He hid his face behind a piece of paper before the judge asked him to remove the cover.
“If convicted of this offence, this would be the defendant’s sixth alcohol related driving conviction in his lifetime,” said prosecutor Adam Cornell. “He has 10 prior ‘failure to appear’ since 2002.”
Investigators said 56-year-old Aaron Gentry of Tulalip slammed head-on into a car in the southbound lanes, about a mile north of Arlington around 4 p.m. Sunday.
Court documents say that at the scene of the accident Gentry slurred to a trooper that he had drank a lot.
Records also show investigators found open containers of alcohol inside his vehicle.
The crash killed Miriam Kay Robinson of Albany, according to KIRO-TV and Robinson's roommate, Dora-Jean Wyne. Wyne said that she and her 18-month-old were in the car, too, and survived. Police said they were treated at the hospital.
Robinson was riding as a passenger in the front seat of a white Toyota Corolla hit by Gentry, police said.
“He had to be going 90 miles an hour,” said Vanessa Land, who witnessed the crash.
Gentry was also injured in the crash. He was treated and then booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of DUI.
Three other vehicles were struck by debris from the crash.
A preliminary investigation found that the wrong-way driver entered I-5 southbound at Exit 202 and drove about six miles the wrong direction in a Ford Explorer before slamming head-on into the Toyota Corolla.
The Ford Explorer rolled over and the Toyota came to rest against the cable barrier.
Land was driving home to Lynnwood in another vehicle when she was forced to swerve out the way.
“My life just flashed before my eyes. He had to have been going like 90 miles per hour,” said Land, alongside her boyfriend Jacob Brawner who was also in the car.