Donation fund set up for injured funeral director

Staff writerMay 21, 2013 

A 41-year-old funeral director who was struck by a suspected drunken driver on Steilacoom Road Sunday night was still in "critically stable" condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Tuesday, according to the man's employers at Funeral Alternatives in Tumwater.

Doctors at Harborview were going to attempt to take Andrew Kill off of his respirator Tuesday in an attempt to see if he could breathe on his own, said Clair Ferris, owner of Funeral Alternatives, where Kill has worked as a funeral director for the past four years. Kill has had four CT scans, and has a buildup of fluid in his brain from a head injury, but he was moving both of his feet and one of his hands, an encouraging sign given the severity of his injuries, Ferris said.

Kill's Kia Optima was T-boned by Tyreen Wells' Chevy Tahoe about 10:30 Sunday night, after Wells allegedly ran a four-way stop sign at Dutterow Road S.E. A Thurston County sheriff's deputy had pulled Wells over on Steilacoom Road and was was about to administer field sobriety tests when she suddenly put her vehicle in gear and drove off, later crashing into Kill's vehicle at the intersection.

Ferris said that Kill was on his way home from work after visiting with the family of someone who had recently died and was being interred by Funeral Alternatives. Since the crash, Kill's wife has been by his side constantly at Harborview, Ferris said. Wells, 35, was being held Tuesday at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of vehicular assault, attempt to elude a police vehicle and driving with a suspended license, with bail set at $100,000.

When deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers responded to the crash, Wells "had thick, slurred speech and emitted an obvious odor of intoxicants from her breath as she spoke," court papers state. Wells' blood was drawn at Providence St. Peter Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries.

Kill suffered "seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, a brain bleed, head trauma, a fractured nose and fractures to the face," court papers state.

"We're just sickened by this whole thing," Ferris added. "We're in this business because we know how fragile life is. This just brings that home to us. We feel terrible."

Wells has two prior driving under the influence convictions, her most recent in 1994. She also has a 1998 escape conviction.

Ferris said that Funeral Alternatives has set up a donations account at Heritage Bank to help offset Kill's medical bills. The fund is set up under the name "Donations for Andrew." People who wish to make a donation also can send donations directly to Funeral Alternatives' Lacey office, at 2830 Willamette Drive, N.E., Lacey WA, 98516.

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

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