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State investigates driver in fatal EWU accident

Sat., March 8, 2014, midnight

Alcohol, black ice blamed in crash

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.

Records detailing the vehicular homicide investigation 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 Spokane with three other young women, all in the Chicano Education Program at EWU.

Her blood alcohol content registered a 0.081, which is just 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 U.S. Highway 195 outside of Colfax. The car collided with a semitruck 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 after the accident.

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