Man sentenced in fatal crash

jpawloski@theolympian.comFebruary 5, 2013 

A judge sentenced a Rainier man to 20 months in jail Monday for the vehicular homicide of a pedestrian as he walked on state Route 507 in April.

Richard Lee Peace, 52, had earlier pleaded guilty to a count of vehicular homicide, caused by “disregard for the safety of others.” A prosecutor and Peace’s defense attorney made a joint recommendation that Peace serve 20 months in jail, the high end of the standard sentencing range. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy accepted the recommendation.

Peace was driving in his pickup on state Route 507 on April 25 when he struck and killed Donald R. Moore, 58. Moore was walking on the right shoulder near Binghampton Street about 9 p.m. when Peace’s pickup crossed over the fog line and hit Moore from behind, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Initially, Peace was charged with vehicular homicide while driving under the influence. However, the charge was later amended to vehicular homicide while driving with “disregard for the safety of others,” after it was revealed that a WSP trooper misread the results of Peace’s preliminary breath test to reflect that Peace was legally intoxicated. In fact, Peace registered a 0.016 on his preliminary breath test – well below the drunken-driving threshold of 0.08 percent.

In court Monday, Peace apologized. “I was the one who was driving the truck,” Peace said. “It was my fault, and my heart goes out to the family.”

Moore’s sister Cathy King has said her brother was walking home from church when he was struck from behind. He was killed instantly. Moore’s brother Robert wrote the court a letter expressing disbelief that Peace received such a lenient sentence.

“For one citizen to be able to take a motor vehicle and run over another citizen and only receive a 15-20 month penalty is mind-boggling,” Robert Moore wrote.

Robert Moore also stated that he talked to his brother on the phone just days before his death.

“To this day, I am extremely grateful that I was able to talk to Donnie just days before the accident,” Robert Moore wrote. “We had a great conversation. But, I am also saddened by the fact that that conversation will be our last. Never did I think that I would bury my brother before our parents. We even joked about our ages and how time had flown, but agreed we should have another 20-25 years left in us. We both thought, plenty of time left to do whatever. That whatever will never come for us.”

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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