A driver with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit after he ran a red light in Federal Way and killed another driver pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular homicide.
Video from a red-light camera at the intersection of South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South provided much of the evidence, which the defendant’s attorney called “overwhelming.”
Lagrant D. Pegram, 35, of Auburn, crashed his Chevrolet Suburban into an Acura Integra early Dec. 29, killing driver Emmanuel Franco, 21, of Federal Way.
Pegram entered his plea at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, where he remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
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Pegram could be sentenced to as much as 13 years, eight months in prison, which includes two enhancements for driving under the influence.
The DUI enhancements add 48 months to the entire sentencing range, based on Pegram’s prior convictions for alcohol-related felony vehicular assault in 1992 and driving under the influence in 2006.
Pegram also has several prior convictions on drug charges. Federal Way police say he has been arrested more than 30 times.
A King County prosecutor said her office will recommend a sentence of 12 years three months. Lee Rousso, Pegram’s attorney, said he will recommend the minimum of 11 years, three months.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 1 at the Regional Justice Center.
Pegram was not hurt in the 2:30 a.m. accident. A breath test afterward showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.242, three times the legal limit of 0.08 for drivers, according to court documents.
Franco graduated from Decatur High School in Federal Way in 2007. He was employed as a baggage handler at Sea-Tac Airport.
No members of Franco’s family were present as Pegram pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Besides being drunk, Pegram was driving with a suspended license, King County prosecutors say. They say he drove around two cars, stopped for the red light and t h e n w e n t 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 light and T-boned the Acura, prosecutors say.
“It was a relatively easy decision,” Rousso said of his client’s guilty plea Wednesday. “The evidence in this case, I think, was overwhelming.”
Rousso said Pegram has been studying the Bible since the crash and praying Franco’s family will forgive him.
“He’s really distraught over this,” Rousso said after the hearing. “He’s extremely remorseful.”
In a clear, firm voice, Pegram answered “guilty” when asked his plea Wednesday.
Pegram originally pleaded not guilty Jan. 13.
In court documents, Pegram initially denied the crash was his fault. 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 initial account wasn’t consistent with the Acura’s damage. A camera also showed Franco was moving through a green light, legally driving west when he was killed.