Driver denies guilt in teacher's death

Driver denies guilt in teacher’s death

Spokane accident also injured victim’s daughter


Staff writer

A man accused of driving drunk and killing a Federal Way teacher and injuring her daughter in Spokane July 31 has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

Jimmie D. Brewer, 49, was arraigned in Spokane County Superior Court last week. He will appear in court again Dec. 20. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 6.

According to police, Brewer’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he allegedly crashed into the back of the Mustang driven by Lake Grove Elementary School teacher Patricia Klasen, 46, who was in Spokane with her daughter, Breanna Klasen, 17, for a softball tournament.

Authorities said Brewer was heading south on State Route 395 near the intersection of Hawthorne Road, where several drivers, including Klasen, were stopped at a stop light.

Witnesses told police that Brewer’s Chevrolet pickup was weaving over the center line as he approached the intersection. Spokane County deputy prosecutor Clint Frances said there was no indication Brewer was speeding, but witnesses reported he didn’t appear to hit his brakes prior to the collision.

A police inspection of his truck after the collision showed the brakes and brake lights functioned normally, authorities said.

The impact from the collision pushed Klasen’s car into the car in front of her and caused a five-car chain reaction at the intersection.

Klasen and her daughter were taken to Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane, where the mother died. Breanna Klasen suffered serious injuries, including possible internal injuries and a fractured hand. She was released from the hospital the next afternoon.

State troopers noted a strong smell of alcohol on Brewer when they arrived at the scene of the crash, according to charging papers. They arrested him for vehicular assault after asking him to perform sobriety tests, but the charge was upgraded to vehicular homicide when after Patricia Klasen had died.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates