Pierce County prosecutors on Thursday charged a 56-year-old man with vehicular homicide for allegedly leaving a friend to die in his wrecked pickup.
Not-guilty pleas to single counts of vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run were entered on behalf of Dale Rex Stahl at his arraignment in Superior Court. Commissioner Patrick Oishi ordered Stahl jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail.
Prosecutors believe Stahl was behind the wheel of a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup that went out of control on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma the night of Nov. 17.
Witnesses said the truck was speeding when it sideswiped a parked pickup, then slammed into the back of a parked van. The driver ran away. Tacoma police found the body of 44-year-old Michael Campbell of Seattle in the passenger seat.
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Investigators identified Stahl as the driver and have searched his home twice since. They arrested him Wednesday.
He initially denied knowing anything about the wreck but later admitted being behind the wheel at the time of the crash, according to court documents.
“He said he fled the collision scene because he was scared, he panicked and he did not want to go to jail,” the documents state.