A Gig Harbor man is now charged with vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment for the drunk driving crash that killed his 9-year-old nephew.
Jayce Randall, 26, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Pierce County Superior Court to the charges. He was brought into court in a wheelchair due to injuries sustained in the crash.
Prosecutors say Randall was driving his nephew, Donovan Best, and an 8-year-old niece to their grandparents house about 1:30 a.m. Saturday when he lost control and crashed, rolling the car as he exited state Route 16 near Purdy.
Randall and Best were both thrown from the car, with the youngster landing on the pavement 50 feet past the wreck. Troopers believe both were just wearing their shoulder belts.
The niece was properly belted in the back seat. She told troopers she and her brother were crying and begged Randall to slow down, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.
Randall allegedly told officials while he was being treated at the scene that he had four drinks and had smoked marijuana about an hour before the crash. Troopers found 122.5 grams of marijuana outside the car. A portable breath test determined his blood alcohol level was 0.194, over twice the legal limit.
Best died Sunday night after being taken off life support.
Randall is held on $250,000 bail and remains on suicide watch in the Pierce County Jail. In asking for the high bail, deputy prosecutor Tim Jones told the court that at the scene, when told that the children were injured, Randall replied: "What children?"
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