LINKA 24-year-old cyclist hit by an allegedly drug-impaired driver in Renton Dec. 7 died of her injuries on Wednesday, according to Renton police.
Now the 44-year-old driver who was arrested at the scene for vehicular assault could see his charge changed to vehicular homicide.
Vern Henderson was already facing a trial for DUI in February in Seattle Municipal Court when he was found practically nonverbal behind the wheel of a damaged car at the Rainier Avenue North crash site, according to court documents. He's been convicted of DUI four times since 1999 and has racked up 14 convictions for driving with a suspended license.
When arrested Dec. 7, he was also found to have been driving without a court-ordered ignition interlock device, according to Renton police.
Taylor Marie Goehring died of multiple blunt force injuries at Harborview Medical Center, according to the King County Medical Examiner's Office. Renton police reports indicate she suffered a fractured arm, fractured legs, a fractured pelvis, several fractured bones in her torso and possible traumatic brain injury.
The crash occurred shortly before 6 p.m. on a Friday night. Goehring was traveling south with her boyfriend in the 400 block of Rainier Avenue North near the Evergreen Market.
Meanwhile, several witnesses claim they saw a maroon Honda Accord speeding south on the same road, weaving at highway speeds between lanes.
Goehring's boyfriend stopped on the sidewalk to fix his bike, while Goehring entered the left turn lane in the road to pedal to a business.
The Honda Accord entered the left turn lane to pass southbound traffic, reports say, and slammed into Goehring without slowing. The car continued for another estimated 100 feet with Goehring lodged on the windshield and her bike pinned beneath the vehicle before it stopped, throwing Goehring into the street.
Renton cops arrived to find the bicycle crumpled in the road with the front tire and rim ripped from the rest of the bike, according to the incident report. The Honda Accord was in the left northbound travel lane, facing south, its windshield smashed and the front center portion of the roof caved in. The windshield damage was extensive enough that cops initially couldn't tell if the driver was still inside the vehicle until they approached the driver side window.
Henderson was behind the wheel and the engine was still running. Officers say he was conscious, but nonverbal and unresponsive to any questions. Police found a cigarette that had been dipped in liquid on his lap, along with a small brown cigar. Henderson had some kind of black liquid on his face, reports say.
Court documents also claim that Henderson appeared unaware of the "massive emergency response" to the crash around him and didn't seem to be cognizant that two cops were standing at his driver side window.
An evaluation of Henderson's condition indicated he was not drunk - he wore a SCRAM bracelet that would have indicated his blood alcohol level, as ordered by the court in a separate case - but under the influence of PCP and a narcotic pain reliever.
As he was being booked into the King County Jail in Kent, jail staff recovered a child-size sock containing more than 3 grams of methamphetamine, according to the police report.