Driver faces murder case

Pierce County prosecutors will try to make a murder case against a 36-year-old woman who allegedly ran a stop light while fleeing police and slammed into another driver, killing him.

Deputy prosecutor Tim Jones filed a second-degree murder charge Wednesday against Virginia Christina Ramsey of Auburn.

Jones also charged Ramsey with vehicular assault, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, two counts of possession of a legend drug and third-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license.

She is to be arraigned Oct. 5.

Authorities said Ramsey was trying to flee a Federal Way police officer who intended to pull her over on suspicion of impaired driving July 26 when she ran a red light at Pacific Highway South and Porter Way.

She collided with a white Volkswagen driven by Douglas W. Simmons III of Fife.

Simmons, 40, died. His passenger, Holly E. Mattson, 42, suffered critical injuries. Ramsey was badly hurt and is still receiving medical care at the Washington Corrections Center for Women near Purdy, where she is confined on unrelated probation violations.

Prosecutors are pursuing the case as a so-called “felony murder.” The law allows them to file a second-degree murder charge against someone who, while committing a felony other than homicide, kills a person.

In this case, Ramsey allegedly was committing the felony of attempting to elude a pursing police vehicle when she killed Simmons, Jones said.

“The case law is solid on this,” he said.

Prosecutors proved a similar case in 1998 when a jury convicted Valdez Stewart of second-degree murder in the death of Paula Joyce, a Tacoma mother of four.

Prosecutors successfully argued Stewart was committing the felony of possessing stolen property when he drove a stolen SUV through a red light and collided with Joyce’s pickup.

Ramsey was being sought on two arrest warrants at the time of the July crash and also had drugs in her car, according to charging documents.

Another driver called 911 before the crash to report a car being driven erratically near Pacific Highway and South 336th Street, the documents show.

Federal Way police officer Ashley Crispin was dispatched to intercept the car. Crispin spotted the vehicle, gave chase and saw the crash.