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Man killed in crash brightened lives

Kevin Smith spent last Sunday morning putting the finishing touches on a woodcarving of a dolphin. Later he stopped at a grocery store to buy eggs, and then headed for home along Empire Avenue.

Not far away, Bryan J. Storms, 38, drove toward his apartment with two people in his car with the intention to “get high” once he got there, according to court documents. He spotted a police car and sped up. He turned north on Helena Street and sped up again, traveling faster than 50 mph.

Storms raced through the stop sign at Empire and Helena and smashed into Smith’s Ford pickup truck. The collision drove Smith’s pickup into a telephone pole, according to court records. The pole snapped and landed in a nearby yard. Debris littered the intersection.

Police said Storms got out of his wrecked vehicle and ran, leaving behind his two passengers: one with nine broken ribs and a collapsed lung, the other with a broken collarbone.

Smith, a married father of two, died at the scene.

Witnesses helped chase down Storms and he was arrested. In a search of his Honda, police said they found a bag containing methamphetamine.

While Smith’s manner of death is disturbing for anyone who has sent a loved one on a quick errand, family members said at his memorial service Friday they choose to focus on the life he lived rather than the way he died.

Friends and family came to New Life Church dressed in bright colors to celebrate Smith, but also as part of an inside joke.

“My dad was colorblind,” said Ryan Smith, 29.

Attendees brought pieces of artwork Smith had completed. There were sketches, etchings, woodcarvings and many T-shirts Smith designed as a graphic artist at Saturday Night Inc.

Ryan Smith remembered his father for his creativity, which inspired his son to try his own hand at art. Ryan said he is now more of a writer, but his father loved every story he wrote.

Kevin Smith also created the portraits on many historical markers throughout Fairmount and Greenwood cemeteries that honor historical figures from Spokane.

Renee Smith, his wife of 30 years, met her husband on a blind date. At Friday’s service, she told everyone why Kevin had to propose twice.

“I kind of broke up with him,” she said, laughing through tears. “Then I begged for the ring back.”

His sister, Kerri Smith-Majors, remembered how Kevin never had to eat vegetables as a child, since he was colorblind and they looked brown on the plate.

“I always had to clean my plate,” Smith-Majors said.

Storms is in jail on a $250,000 bond, facing charges of vehicular homicide and fatal vehicular hit-and-run, and two charges of vehicular assault.

Meanwhile, Kevin Smith’s family and friends are picking up the pieces.

“My dad loved unconditionally,” said Shane Smith, 27. “He’s going to be missed.”

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