Spokane County deputies arrested a man on suspicion of vehicular homicide following a “horrific” car crash Monday evening during which his car struck another car and they both burst into flames.
Multiple callers reported a car crash on West Rutter Parkway, west of North Indian Trail Road, at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, saying they saw an explosion and large flames, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release.
A woman was driving behind her husband, who was towing a boat, when the driver behind her, Jackson A. Neal, 23, struck her car from behind, the release stated. Her vehicle burst into flames, which then engulfed both cars.
Her husband told responders he noticed a “ball of flames” behind him, quickly pulled over and ran back to help.
Other witnesses who saw the flames or heard the explosion hurried to the scene to help.
Initial statements indicate Neal and the woman were the only people in the cars.
Neal denied he had been drinking, but a breath test at the hospital showed his blood alcohol content at 0.207, more than twice the legal limit, the release said.
Medics transported the woman to a hospital where she died Monday evening.
Neal was sitting off the roadway in a ditch when deputies arrived. He was crying and asking, “Is she OK?” according to the release.
Responders transported him to the hospital for minor injuries, where Drug Recognition Expert Corporal Todd Miller contacted Neal. Neal said he was driving to the store but didn’t remember the collision, the release said.
Miller noted Neal’s eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. Neal claimed he had not consumed any alcohol or drugs, the release said.
When Miller offered Neal a voluntary breath test, he agreed. The test showed a high blood alcohol content and Neal admitted he had been drinking throughout the day, according to the release.
The case is under investigation, but Traffic Unit technicians believe speed and impairment were factors. Neal’s blood sample will be sent to the lab for testing, which will take several weeks, the release said.
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