A Spokane County jury found a 25-year-old man guilty Wednesday of killing 49-year-old Lauri McNamara in a fiery two-vehicle crash two years ago east of Nine Mile Falls.
Jackson A. Neal will be sentenced for vehicular homicide Sept. 15 by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.
McNamara was driving behind her husband, Ray McNamara, around 8:30 p.m. Aug. 17, 2020, when the driver behind her, Neal, struck her car from behind, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release at the time. Her vehicle burst into flames, which engulfed the car on West Rutter Parkway, west of North Indian Trail Road.
Ray McNamara told deputies he noticed a “ball of flames” erupt behind him and quickly pulled over to run back to help.
Neal was sitting off the roadway in a ditch when deputies arrived. He was crying and asking, “Is she OK?” the release said.
Ray McNamara said in court documents that he saw his wife standing outside her vehicle. Medics transported the woman to a hospital, where she died that night, the release said.
Neal told deputies he was driving from his home to a store and had the cruise control set to 49 mph. He said he did not know what happened after that.
Responders transported Neal to the hospital for minor injuries, the release said. A breath test at the hospital showed Neal’s blood alcohol content at 0.207, more than twice the legal limit.
Neal remained in the Spokane County Jail Wednesday.
Tom Treppiedi, Spokane County deputy prosecutor, said the jury deliberated about 90 minutes before the verdict was read early Wednesday afternoon.
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