Throughout the week, we’ve received notes from people living near the scene of the crash that led to a major power outage early Sunday, wondering how the two people in the car were doing. Though they originally were described as having life-threatening injuries, we have just learned from Harborview Medical Center that the passenger, a 31-year-old woman whose hometown is not listed in the police report, is out of the hospital. The driver, 23-year-old Mohammad Nema of Burien, is still at Harborview but is now in satisfactory condition – and he is charged with vehicular assault as well as domestic violence. According to the charging documents, the passenger was his estranged girlfriend, who had two protection orders against him linked to an assault allegation in early December. The charging papers don’t say why she was with him on Sunday morning, but they say:
… the defendant was speeding well in excess of the posted speed limit. He failed to maintain control of his car and crossed the centerline and began rotating clockwise as he skidded 133 feet. He then left the road and slammed broadside into a utility pole. The force was sufficient to break the pole which caused a power outage in the neighborhood. There was enough energy left to propel his car an additional 52 feet until the car eventually came to a stop. Both the defendant and (passenger) were unconscious. Both suffered at least fractured pelvises. …When Nema gets out of the hospital, he will be booked into the King County Jail, with bail set at $100,000, according to online records. Court documents say he has a record of citations and charges including driving the wrong way on a one-way street, possessing an open alcohol container in a car, speeding, and driving without liability insurance.
A bottle of open, mostly empty tequila was found wedged between the defendant and his driver’s door. Blood alcohol results for him are pending. Preliminary collision reconstruction shows he was speeding at least 48 mph and that does not even take into consideration the energy to break the pole. The analysis indicates he was traveling freeway speeds when he lost control.