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Teen hit by deputy disputes police story

Associated Press

TACOMA – A teenage bicyclist who was injured in a fatal accident involving a sheriff’s deputy says he never told authorities he had been drinking alcohol before the crash.

The 15-year-old boy and his 14-year-old friend, Andrew Wade of Bonney Lake, were bicycling on an unlit roadway south of Bonney Lake about 3 a.m. on Jan. 1 when they were struck by an SUV driven by Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Robert Koucher, who was on his way to a burglary call.

Wade, who also used the last name of Lunde, died at the scene. The 15-year-old boy was injured.

Attorney Barbara Corey, who works for the Stenberg Law Firm, said Wednesday that the boy denies drinking any alcohol, and blood tests in the hospital showed he had none in his system.

“It is heartbreaking enough that the child lost his best friend,” attorney Ann Stenberg said in a statement. “He is also hurt by any suggestion that he had been drinking before the accident.”

Pierce County sheriff’s department officials did not waver from their Jan. 1 statement that the boy told investigators he had been drinking beer.

“We stand by what we said,” said sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. “The information and evidence we have is contrary to what they are saying.” He would not elaborate, saying the incident is still being investigated.

The boy’s name has not been released. The attorneys were hired by his family to represent his interests during the investigation.

Troyer has said the boys rode their bicycles into the pathway of the deputy’s vehicle.

Koucher, 42, remained on administrative leave. Troyer said he was injured when another vehicle rear-ended his SUV shortly after he hit the bicyclists.

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