A jury found a 41-year-old Spokane man guilty of vehicular homicide Thursday, months after a mistrial was declared for the same case.
The jury on Thursday determined Casey L. Walker was responsible for his passenger’s death during a road rage incident in 2020 on Interstate 90.
Walker was driving a 1968 Jeepster Commando around 1 p.m. Oct. 30, 2020, west on Interstate 90 just east of Spokane, according to court documents. Walker was swerving in his lane when he pulled alongside a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck, driven by Shane Gustin, in the left lane.
Court documents said Walker started yelling at Gustin and was swerving toward his vehicle. Walker eventually encroached into the left lane, next to the Dodge, by about a tire width before accelerating ahead, the documents said.
As Walker accelerated, he allegedly came upon a vehicle in front of him and with no warning “recklessly jerked left,” cutting the Dodge off. When Walker jerked the wheel to the left, he clipped the right front of the Dodge with his left rear, forcing his Jeepster to rotate counterclockwise. The Jeepster shot into and rode up on top of the median barrier, the documents said.
It slid along the top of the barrier for a short distance before it tripped on an adjoining seam and violently rolled over, the documents stated. When the Jeepster rolled, Walker was thrown from the vehicle and came to rest in the center lane of westbound I-90, and sustained critical injuries.
The documents said Walker’s passenger, Lynn K. Chapman, was also thrown from the vehicle and was pinned under the Jeepster when it rolled onto its top. The Jeepster immediately caught fire with Chapman trapped underneath. The fire reportedly burned the Jeepster and Chapman, trapped underneath, was also burned and died at the scene.
Walker reportedly told a Washington State Patrol sergeant that he and Chapman had gone to Carpenters Union Hall on Sullivan Road and cashed out an annuity just prior to the collision. Walker told the sergeant he was planning on using the money to leave Washington, the documents said.
They said Walker’s girlfriend and daughter had purchased a couple of acres in Hawaii and he wanted to get there as quickly as he could.
Walker was taken into custody after Thursday afternoon’s verdict. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 15. The standard sentence range is 15 to 20 months in prison.
In December, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno declared a mistrial for the case against Walker after the presiding juror told Moreno the jury would not likely reach an agreement in a “reasonable time.”
Walker’s attorney, Erek Puccio, told The Spokesman-Review that he was disappointed in the verdict but he respected the jury’s decision this time. He said he more than likely will appeal the decision.
Walker also faces first-degree robbery and second-degree assault charges after a September 2020 incident in which he is accused of choking a woman, who was leasing a residence from him, and robbing her, according to court documents.
A trial for those charges is scheduled for May 23.
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