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Auburn driver charged with vehicular homicide in crash that killed Federal Way man

Several items have been left at a roadside memorial for 21-year-old Emmanuel Franco of Federal Way. The memorial is located at Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street, where Franco died Dec. 29 after his vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Lagrant Darnell Pegram, 35, of Auburn. Alcohol was a factor in the incident. - Jacinda Howard/The Mirror
Several items have been left at a roadside memorial for 21-year-old Emmanuel Franco of Federal Way. The memorial is located at Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street, where Franco died Dec. 29 after his vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Lagrant Darnell Pegram, 35, of Auburn. Alcohol was a factor in the incident.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

Lagrant D. Pegram, 35, of Auburn was charged with vehicular homicide Monday.

Pegram was booked into King County Jail Dec. 29 following a fatal two-car collision in which 21-year-old Federal Way resident Emmanuel Franco died. The incident took place at 2:20 a.m. at Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street. Pegram, while traveling in a Suburban northbound on Pacific Highway South, allegedly ran a red light and collided with Franco's Acura, which was traveling westbound on South 320th Street. According to charging papers, Pegram drove around two cars stopped at the red light and proceeded through the intersection, colliding with Franco's vehicle.

Franco died at the scene. On Dec. 30, the King County Medical Examiner's Office listed the cause of death as aortic transection due to lacerations of the liver and spleen, and multiple verb fractures due to blunt force trauma to the torso.

Pegram was given a field sobriety test and a breath test at the scene of the accident. Test results showed Pegram's blood alcohol level at .242, according to charging papers.

According to charging papers, Pegram was driving with a suspended license at the time of the incident. He was found standing by his vehicle and told responding officers that Franco caused the crash by attempting to turn in front of his vehicle.

The incident was caught on camera by Federal Way's Safe City and red light photo enforcement devices. Video and photos were provided to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said.

If convicted of the charge, it will be one of many on Pegram's record. He has seven felony convictions and six misdemeanors, according to Federal Way police. Most of the cases originated in King County.

Pegram's record includes felony convictions for DUI, possession and/or delivery of drugs, a domestic violence court order and juvenile vehicular assault, according to charging papers. The vehicular assault took place in 1992, when Pegram was 17. Pegram's misdemeanor convictions include drug possession and/or delivery, violation and assault related to a domestic violence no-contact order, hit and run, driving with a suspended license and DUI, according to charging papers.

Pegram is currently in jail with a $500,000 bail, set Dec. 30 by King County Superior Court Judge Richard Bathum. In setting the bail, Bathum said the amount was moderate, given Pegram's history of DUIs. Pegram's arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 13 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center.

Meanwhile, a roadside memorial for Franco, located on the northwest corner of Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street, continued to grow over the New Year's holiday. Cards and notes recalling special memories with Franco have been left at the site. Flowers, balloons, photos of Franco, a small flag of the Philippines, cans and bottles of Mountain Dew, energy drinks, a bottle of barbecue sauce and signs have also been placed at the memorial.

One sign, written in thick red and black marker, urges people not to drink and drive.

Jeff Shaw, a co-worker of Franco's at Horizon Air, described Franco as someone who was working on getting an education and beginning a career. He also described him, in a letter to The Mirror, as someone who could make others smile.

"Emmanuel had a smile that made you smile. He was pretty quiet, but when the time came he could crack you up with his sense of humor," Shaw wrote.

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