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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

William Swan faces felony vehicular manslaughter in collision that killed CdA high school student

A driver whose pickup crashed into a car, killing a Coeur d’Alene High School student and seriously injuring the student’s older brother now faces a vehicular manslaughter charge.

William Swan, 45, originally faced charges of aggravated DUI and drug paraphernalia after a collision in Coeur d’Alene Friday night that killed Jacob Leeder, the son of Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tim Leeder.

But the charges were upgraded to include vehicular manslaughter before Swan’s first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. Bond was set at $200,000 in Kootenai County Superior Court.

Swan told Idaho State Police he hadn’t had a driver’s license in 16 years and was arrested for DUI in California in 2007, according to a police report.

Swan is now accused of driving his 2000 Chevy Silverado while under the influence, leading to a crash on Interstate 90 near the Fourth Street exit. The crash was preceded by the victims’ car spinning out of control before stopping in the middle of the freeway before Swan’s vehicle hit them.

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A 1995 Acura Integra, driven by 20-year-old Jonah Leeder, was attempting to overtake a car around 10:30 p.m. when the vehicle spun out of control and stalled in the right lane, Idaho State Police said. It was then T-boned by Swan. Leeder’s younger brother, Jacob, 16, was in the front passenger seat.

According to a police report, Swan smelled of alcohol and his speech was slurred, prompting Idaho State Police to perform a series of field sobriety tests.

After the man performed one test and refused to do others, according to police, Swan told Troopers to “take me to jail.” Swan, who admitted drinking two beers before the collision, refused to take a blood alcohol level test, police said.

A pipe with a “partially burnt, black leafy substance in the bowl” was also found in Swan’s center console, police said.

The younger Leeder was pronounced dead at the scene. Jonah Leeder was transported to Kootenai Health, where he was treated for internal injuries and several broken bones, according to family and friends. He was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Tuesday afternoon.

News of Jacob Leeder’s death reached far and wide. Hours after his death, eulogies were shared online. A GoFundMe campaign was started by a group called the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Wives, which raised over $25,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

Monday morning, Dutch Bros. Coffee in Kootenai County announced on Facebook that $1 from every drink sold throughout the county on Wednesday would be donated to the family.

“The family is overwhelmed by your gracious and generous support,” the fundraiser organizers wrote. “They have no words to express their gratitude. A simple ‘Thank you’ doesn’t seem enough.”

At Jacob Leeder’s school, students who were returning from winter break Tuesday morning had the option to speak with a crisis counselor, said Coeur d’Alene School District spokesman Scott Maben.

“That will continue as long as needed,” he said.