Separate suspected drunk driving incidents lead to deaths in Spanaway, Kent

Dec 31, 2023, 2:17 PM

carjacking kent...

A Kent Police Department vehicle (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

Washington State Troopers say a suspected drunk driver with a five-year-old child in her car struck and killed a pedestrian in Spanaway Friday night. In a separate incident early Saturday morning, a crash in Kent involving two suspected drunk drivers left a passenger traveling in one of the cars dead.

Pedestrian in Spanaway killed after being hit on SR 7

Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers reported that just before 10 p.m. Friday, a suspected drunk driver with a 5-year-old girl in her car struck and killed a pedestrian in Spanaway.

The 26-year-old Tacoma woman was driving an older-model Honda Civic, when she hit Tonja A. Johnson, 47, of Lakewood who was walking on State Route 7 (SR 7) near 208th Street, according to a WSP press memo sent to KIRO Newsradio.

Johnson died at the scene.

The driver crashed the car into a shipping container in a parking lot. She was later taken taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma for unspecified injuries. The memo also stated the driver was not wearing her seatbelt at the time.

The unidentified 5-year-old girl in the woman’s car, who lives in Spanaway, was taken to MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

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The driver was later arrested for suspicion of vehicular homicide, suspicion of driving under the influence and suspicion of child endangerment, according to the WSP.

SR 7 was blocked for nearly six hours early Saturday as police officers investigated the scene.

Kent Police are investigating a vehicular homicide

A crash involving two suspected drunk drivers early Saturday in Kent left a passenger in one of the cars dead.

According to a statement on the Kent Police Department’s Facebook page, multiple Kent Police Department (KPD) officers were dispatched to the 12400 block of SE 256th Street after 911 received an iPhone crash notification just before 2 a.m.

KPD reported Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority firefighters and medics were also dispatched after witnesses called 911 to report the occupants of the two involved vehicles had serious injuries.

When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a Toyota RAV4 had collided with a Dodge Challenger and located a passenger of one of the vehicles who had died. KPD believes the passenger, a 30-year-old woman from Kent, was ejected from the RAV4.

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The driver of the RAV4, a 31-year-old man who also is from Kent, and the driver of the Challenger, a 25-year-old Kent man, were both transported to area hospitals.

KPD said the drivers of both vehicles showed signs of having had consumed alcohol. The statement reads that KPD officers “obtained search warrants that allowed them to obtain blood samples from the drivers to determine their blood alcohol levels.” The results of those tests are pending.

The Kent Police Traffic Unit is examining evidence at the scene to determine what led up to the fatal collision and investigators are seeking witnesses to the accident. For those who have any information about the incident, please contact KPD and reference case #23-17812. You can call the department’s tip line at 253-856-5808 or email

Contributing: Tom Brock, KIRO Newsradio

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Separate suspected drunk driving incidents lead to deaths in Spanaway, Kent