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Sumner man charged with vehicular homicide

Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged a 29-year-old Sumner man with vehicular homicide in the crash that killed Samuel Stephens early Monday in Pacific.

Joseph Patrick McNeil pleaded not guilty. Superior Court Commissioner Patrick Oishi ordered McNeil held in lieu of $75,000 bail. If released from jail, McNeil also must put on electric home monitoring and alcohol monitoring.

Prosecutors allege Mc-Neil was driving a 4x4 west on Stewart Road Southwest just before 2 a.m. Monday when it crossed into oncoming lanes in the 100 block and hit Stephens’ car, killing the 24-year-old.

McNeil remained at the scene and a witness reported seeing him stumble after the crash. Police said they noticed “obvious signs of intoxication,” including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and a “very strong odor” of intoxicants on his breath, charging documents state.

McNeil told officers he’d had a couple of beers at a Sumner establishment. He said he did not see Stephens’ car. He told officers he was driving east on Stewart, which was different from what evidence and witness statements indicated, court documents state.

McNeil’s blood was drawn for testing for alcohol. The results were not immediately available.

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