A 19-year-old Thurston County driver has been charged with vehicular homicide in the November death of his 18-year-old passenger.
Authorities say Tanner D. Hultman was driving a Volkswagen Jetta on Black Lake Boulevard in Tumwater when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into two parked cars. His passenger, Konner House, died two days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office filed the vehicular homicide charge Sept. 14. Hultman pleaded not guilty to the charge Sept. 16 before Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon.
Dixon set bail at $20,000. Hultman posted bond and was released from the Thurston County jail.
Court documents give the following account:
Tumwater police arrived at the scene of a crash on Black Lake Boulevard at about 9 p.m. Nov. 18. They found House lying on the ground near the Jetta, and he was transported to the hospital.
An officer noted that it was raining heavily, but there was no standing water. The temperature was above freezing.
Hultman told officers that he had been traveling south on Black Lake Boulevard when the Jetta hydroplaned, and he lost control. He said that he hadn’t been speeding. After the crash, Hultman climbed out of the car and pulled House from the wreckage.
Tire marks on the road show that the Jetta likely rotated after Hultman lost control. It crashed into a parked truck, and then a parked Ford. Neither of the parked vehicles was occupied.
When officers searched the Jetta, they found a six-pack of hard root beer. Two of the cans were empty. They also found a cooler filled with unopened beer cans.
Police talked to some of Hultman’s friends, who had been with him prior to the crash, and they reported that Hultman had been drinking before he started driving.
Officers concluded that Hultman had been traveling at an “excessive speed” in dark, rainy, wet conditions. That, combined with his use of the Jetta’s emergency brake, likely caused him to lose control of the car, police concluded.
Hultman has no prior criminal history.