Not guilty plea in deadly New Year's hit-and-run

SEATTLE - A 19-year-old graduate of Mount Si High School pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony hit-and-run in the death of a 57-year-old North Bend woman early on New Year's morning.

Cody J. Eads, 19, entered the plea in King County Superior Court in connection with the death of Lucinda Pieczatkowski, 57.

Pieczatkowski was killed at about 1:50 a.m. on Jan. 1 when she was struck by a pickup while walking alone in the darkness along Stone Quarry Road, also known as 394 Place SE, near Snoqualmie.

Eads did not look up in court on Wednesday as his attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. The attorney says his client didn't know he hit the Pieczatkowski because he was talking on his cell phone.

But Pieczatkowski's niece, Katie Gaston, said after the hearing that her family doesn't buy that - and she's calling on Eads to come clean.

"He took somebody very special from us, and we'll never get her back," Gaston said, fighting back tears. "He gets to get out and walk. He gets to go to school. It's not right. He didn't step up. He needed to step up. ... I just want him to be accountable. I just want him to step up and take responsibility for the person he took away from us."

According to court documents, Eads had been drinking at a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house when he got into an argument with his girlfriend and decided to leave. He left the party at about 1:30 a.m. and drove his F-150 Ford pickup towards his home on Stone Quarry Road.

At about the same time, Pieczatkowski was walking along the side of the road, wearing dark clothes, after getting into an argument with her boyfriend and leaving his vehicle.

She was struck and killed by Eads' pickup as she walked along the roadway, court documents say. Eads continued driving on without stopping, court papers say.

After arriving at home, he called his girlfriend and asked her to come over. When she got there he was "bawling his head off" and saying he "didn't know what to do," the girlfriend told police later. She also noticed significant damage to his pickup.

Meanwhile, Pieczatkowski's boyfriend contacted Snoqualmie police and reported her missing. A few hours later, her body was found in the ditch with catastrophic injuries.

The next day, the Eads' family attorney called the King County Sheriff's Office and informed them that the truck involved in the crash was parked at the Eads family residence, according to court documents.

The pickup was impounded and had damage consistent with striking a pedestrian, including blood and tissue. The debris left on the road also matched the truck driven by Eads, court papers say.

Over the next several months, detectives continued to conduct interviews and collect evidence in the case, including cell phone tracking and fingerprints from inside the pickup.

Eads was charged, and prosecutors have requested $25,000 bail, which the judge lowered to $10,000 at Wednesday's hearing.

Interlock device ordered, but Eads gets 2 weeks to comply

The judge also required Eads get an alcohol interlock device installed on his car immediately. Yet Eads' attorney, claiming interlock dealers are experiencing a backlog of appointments, asked the judge for an extra 10 days. The judge gave him two weeks.

However, the KOMO Problem Solvers asked all five interlock dealers approved by the Washington State Patrol if they're experiencing backlogs, and while it might take a few days, they all told KOMO News it was nothing close to two weeks' delay. Which means if Eads posts bail, he can drive interlock free until Sept. 4.

We brought our findings to Judge Jim Rogers, who replied in an email he believed Eads' attorney Diego Vargas because he's "a well respected lawyer who works in this area," adding judges, "may not know at any specific time whether the installation time increases or decreases.

But Rogers added the court, "will follow up with what you have communicated to me" and "use that information immediately in all cases."