Army reservist facing charges in traffic death of fellow soldier
TACOMA, Wash. -- An Army reservist is now facing charges in connection with a crash that killed a fellow soldier in Lakewood.
It happened just after midnight on Wednesday along 108th Street Southwest at Douglas Drive Southwest.
Jefferson Taylor, 21, appeared in Pierce County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon for vehicular homicide. Lakewood police said Taylor caused a wreck that involved excessive speed and some kind of impairment.
Hernan Barragan, 32, of Hollister, California, died as a result of the crash.
Police said Taylor drove more than 80 miles per hour down the residential street, lost control, then hit a power pole.
"I was actually sitting on my couch, playing on my phone and heard this God awful sound," said Alex Termini.
When Termini went outside to see what was going on, she says the driver was leaving. She got her phone out and tried to follow him.
"I saw the truck laying in the road and some guy running away from it. I was like ‘What happened?’ He immediately just cursed at me. Said 'F U' really loud," said Termini.
The truck was so mangled on the passenger side Termini had no idea there was still someone inside. When officers arrived, they found Barragan in the passenger seat with his seatbelt on.
"The passenger had a badly injured leg and arm so (officers) put a tourniquet on both in an attempt to save his life," said Lakewood Police Assistant Chief John Unfred.
Officers found Taylor at an apartment complex nearby lying on the ground. He had blood on the back of his head and claimed he was shot. Once police got Taylor in custody, they say he smelled of intoxicants and was extremely combative. He started yelling at officers and threatening them. According to court documents, Taylor kicked an officer in the chest, then spit blood in another officer's face in the ambulance.
Taylor was treated at a hospital, then booked into jail.
Barragan was an active-duty member of the Army Reserve. He was assigned at Madigan Army Medical Center.
"It’s really tragic," said Unfred.
Police are still waiting for state toxicology labs. Taylor's bail on Thursday was set at $500,000.