Woman charged with vehicular homicide in triple fatal Roy crash

    Amber Mae Smithlin makes her first appearance in a Pierce County Superior Courtroom on Aug. 14, 2018 (KOMO Photo)

    TACOMA, Wash. -- A woman who prosecutors say was drunk when she ran a stop sign and crashed into another car in Roy, killing three people, was charged with vehicular homicide Tuesday.

    ”Drinking and driving ruins people’s lives. And it seems like we keep saying that, but apparently we need to keep saying that,” said Mark Lindquist, Pierce County Prosecutor.

    Amber Mae Smithlin also faces two counts of vehicular assault for the two others injured in the crash.

    Smithlin was driving with her 5-year-old son along 8th Avenue on Aug. 6 when she was swerving, then went through the stop sign at SR-702 and crashed into a Toyota Rav4 with four people inside, according to court documents.

    The impact sent the Rav4 onto its roof as it skidded up the hill and into nearby brush. Smithlin's car crashed into a utility pole, investigators said.

    Two women in the backseat, Dong Ki, 57, and Kyung Lee, 58, were pronounced dead at the scene while a man in the front seat, 70-year-old Kum Ki, later died at the hospital.

    The fourth man in the car, Miles Ki, 59, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

    According to court documents, Ki was released on Tuesday and returned to California.

    Smithlin’s 5-year-old son was taken to the hospital in satisfactory condition and is now being held in the care of Child Protective Services.

    The fourth man in the car was hospitalized as was Smithlin and her son.

    Investigators said Smithlin showed obvious signs of impairment at the hospital and a breathalyzer test came back with a reading of 0.11 -- more than the legal limit of 0.08. Smithlin admitted she had some shots of vodka at a friend's house before getting the road with her son, according to court documents.

    “When people are hurt as a result of drinking and driving, there’s going to be justice, there’s going to be full accountability, but we’d rather people just not drink and drive,” said Lindquist.

    Smithlin made her first court appearance Tuesday wheeled in a wheelchair with a cast on her arm and leg. She was ordered held on $750,000 bail.

    The judge set Smithlin’s next court appearance for August 30.

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