Olympia man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

A 27-year-old Olympia man pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide Friday in connection with a March car crash that killed a passenger.

Ryan C. Cughan faces a recommended 6 years and six months in prison when he is sentenced June 5.

Cughan has been in Thurston County jail since he crashed his borrowed Jeep Cherokee into a tree east of Lacey on March 10, killing his passenger, William Komula Jr., 59.

A Thurston County Sheriff’s deputy responding to the 8:20 p.m. crash in the Sunwood Lakes neighborhood said Cughan appeared to be intoxicated and smelled of alcohol. A half-empty bottle of alcohol without a lid was found on the dashboard, according to court documents.

A passerby who was a nurse tended to Komula, but he died a short time after being taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

At a Thurston County Superior Court plea hearing before Judge Mary Sue Wilson on Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler recommended that Cughan serve six years and six months in prison — the minimum sentence for the crime.