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Not enough evidence to charge driver in fatal Yelm Highway crash, prosecutor says

What to do if you’ve been in a car accident

Be prepared when you hit the road. Here are some quick tips on what to do if you are in a car accident.
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Be prepared when you hit the road. Here are some quick tips on what to do if you are in a car accident.

A 47-year-old woman who was arrested last weekend on suspicion of vehicular homicide was released Monday, according to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jeffery Lippert, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, said Wednesday there was not enough evidence at this point to charge her with a crime. The incident is still under investigation by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

About 2:45 a.m. Saturday, a 37-year-old man was headed east in a Kia when the car hit a guardrail in the 8700 block of Yelm Highway Southeast. Authorities believe the driver then over-corrected his steering and drove into the westbound lane and crashed into a Dodge pickup truck.

The 47-year-old woman was behind the wheel of the pickup truck and officers believed she was driving under the influence. The Prosecutor’s Office will know more once blood test results are complete. She was initially booked into jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

The 37-year-old man, who died at the scene, has been identified as Mario Gastelum of Olympia, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.

A preliminary investigation has found that Gastelum’s vehicle was “fully in the (westbound) lane,” Lippert said.

Once the Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation, it will be referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for review, Lippert said.

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Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.
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