The man whose reckless driving on Interstate 90 led to a violent crash that killed his passenger was sentenced to 27 months in prison Friday in Spokane County Superior Court.
A jury convicted Casey L. Walker, 41, last month for vehicular homicide after a mistrial was declared for the same case in December.
Walker, a Spokane resident, was driving a 1968 Jeepster Commando in October 2020 on the interstate, just east of Spokane, according to court documents. He was swerving in his lane when he pulled alongside a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck in the left lane.
Court documents said Walker started yelling at the driver of the pickup and was swerving toward his vehicle. Walker encroached into the left lane, next to the Dodge.
As Walker accelerated, he “recklessly jerked left,” cutting the Dodge off and clipping the front of the pickup, court records said. The Jeepster rotated, struck the median barrier, slid on top of it and then rolled.
Walker was thrown from the vehicle and sustained critical injuries.
Walker’s passenger, Lynn K. Chapman, 50, was also thrown from the vehicle and was pinned under the Jeepster when it rolled onto its top. The Jeepster caught fire with Chapman trapped underneath. The fire burned the Jeepster and Chapman, who died at the scene.
Chapman’s identical twin sister delivered a victim impact statement to the court Friday. A photo of the sisters was projected on the courtroom’s wall as she spoke.
The sister said Chapman was bright, energetic, witty and made people smile. She said she entered the world with her twin sister and never thought she would live half her life without her.
“To say I love and miss her is a gross understatement,” she said.
Walker, who wore a yellow Spokane County Jail inmate jumpsuit, apologized to the Chapman family.
“She was a dear friend of mine as well,” Walker said of Chapman.
He said he is ashamed of his actions and did not intend to cause harm to Chapman.
Judge Maryann Moreno called the incident “heartbreaking” and apologized to the family for its loss. She said the 27-month sentence did not seem like enough time for taking a life, but that Walker did not intend for the death to occur.
Moreno told Walker he needs to handle his anger, noting the road rage incident and an unrelated assault.
Walker’s attorney, Erek Puccio, said Walker has shown an inability to keep his cool when faced with challenges. He said it’s a flaw of his and he’s ready to admit that, but unfortunately it took a loss of life for him to realize it.
Moreno followed the recommendation by the prosecution and defense to sentence Walker Friday to the high end of a 21- to 27-month standard sentence range.
Puccio told The Spokesman-Review he agreed to the recommendation in exchange for reducing Walker’s first-degree robbery and second-degree assault charges stemming from a separate incident, to third-degree assault.
That incident occurred in September 2020, when Walker choked a woman who was leasing a residence from him and allegedly robbed her, court documents said.
Walker pleaded guilty to the third-degree assault charge Friday and Moreno sentenced him to eight months in jail, which will run concurrent with the homicide sentence.
Walker will serve 12 months of community custody when he is released from prison. Moreno credited Walker for time served, which Puccio said is about one month.
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