A man whose blood-alcohol test came back at three times the legal limit after he ran a red light in Federal Way pleaded not guilty Thursday to vehicular homicide.
Lagrant D. Pegram, 35, of Auburn, is accused of crashing his Chevrolet Suburban into an Acura Integra early Dec. 29, killing driver Emmanuel Franco, 21, of Federal Way.
Pegram entered his plea Thursday at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, where he remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Pegram was not hurt in the 2:30 a.m. accident at the intersection of South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South.
A breath test after the crash showed Pegram had a blood-alcohol content of 0.242, three times the legal limit of 0.08, according to court documents.
“It’s senseless and it shouldn’t have happened,” said Robin Nakashima. Her son, Spencer, is friends with Franco’s brother, Julian. Both are 18.
Nakashima said Franco’s family wasn’t ready to attend the arraignment.
“They just can’t see the guy,” she said. “It’s just too soon.”
“It’s devastated the family,” added Nakashima, who attended Thursday’s arraignment.
Emmanuel Franco graduated from Decatur High School in Federal Way in 2007. He was employed as a baggage handler at Sea-Tac Airport.
Besides being drunk, Pegram was also driving with a suspended license, King County prosecutors say. They allege Pegram drove around two cars, stopped for the red light and then went through it while it was still red, hitting the driver’s side of the Acura. Video recordings confirm Pegram was northbound when he ran the red light and T-boned the Acura, prosecutors say.
Pegram denied the crash was his fault, prosecutors say. He told police at the scene that the Acura was traveling south and made a left turn in front of his Suburban, causing the collision.
Police said Pegram’s account wasn’t consistent with the Acura’s damage. A camera also showed Franco was moving through a green light, legally driving west.
Pegram is a felon on parole. He has several convictions on drug charges, as well as a driving-under-the-influence conviction from 2006.
If convicted of vehicular homicide, Pegram could be sentenced to between nine years three months and 11 years eight months in prison.