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Crash that killed two EWU students sparks homicide investigation

Fri., March 7, 2014, 1:08 p.m.

WSP suspects woman of drunk driving

State troopers are investigating an Eastern Washington University student for killing two of her passengers – both college friends - in a suspected drunken-driving crash two weeks ago near Colfax.

Investigation records detailing the vehicular homicide probe say Erica Polito Moss, 21, drank a cocktail made with up to 2.5 shots of liquor at a Pullman bar in the early morning hours of Feb. 21.

After a couple hours of sleep she attempted to drive back to Cheney with three other young women – all in the Chicano Education Program at EWU.

Her blood alcohol content registered a 0.081, which is above the legal threshold to drive.

At 4:45 a.m., her 1999 Volkswagen Jetta slid on what investigators say may have been black ice on state Highway 195 outside of Colfax. The car collided with a semi-truck pulling two trailers.

Two passengers, Ashley Marie Gonzalez and Nancy Zepeda Zarate, were killed at the scene. Moss and another passenger, Carmen Gomez Villalpando, survived.

Gomez Villalpando told an investigator she did not believe Polito Moss was drunk.

The fatal wreck traumatized many at the university. The girls were the daughters of migrant workers and among the first generation in their families to attend college, the college said in the aftermath of the accident.

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