Federal Way man charged with vehicular homicide following 2018 school bus incident

Jefferey Lash was driving a stolen vehicle when he hit a school bus in Burien last year. A 31 year old female passenger later died from her injuries.

A Federal Way man facing vehicular homicide charges after allegedly driving a stolen vehicle into a school bus, which ultimately killed a woman in April 2018, has three open cases with the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

The two latest cases come following charges filed last month against Jefferey Robert Lash, 24.

The latest charge of possession of a stolen vehicle was filed against Lash Jan. 31. His arraignment for this charge is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

A few days prior on Jan. 28, Lash was charged with vehicular homicide following an incident that occurred April 27, 2018. He was also charged with second degree driving with a license suspended/revoked.

An arraignment for these counts is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at the RJC.

He is currently in custody at the RJC. His total bail amount according to court records is set at $125,000.

The prosecutor’s third open case against Lash is a possession of a stolen vehicle charge filed March 5, 2018.

His trial was set to begin Monday, Feb. 4. Due to weather conditions, his court date was postponed. According to the prosecutor’s office, a new date has not been set yet.

Lash’s latest arrest came Jan. 23 when a King County Sheriff’s deputy was patrolling Skyway and noticed a red Mazda truck parked on the roadway. The deputy ran the license plate and was informed the vehicle was listed as stolen.

According to charging documents, the deputy noted two suspects exited the vehicle. He made contact with the suspects.

Lash declined to speak with the deputy, the charging documents stated.

Upon searching the vehicle, deputies found two keys sitting on the driver’s seat — one key was shaved and the other was uncut.

Vehicular Homicide, Driving with Suspended License

Lash was reportedly driving a stolen vehicle on the morning of April 27, 2018 with two other passengers.

According to charging documents, he had just driven past an elementary school in Burien. They were traveling eastbound in the 11200 block of Glendale Way S.

The documents stated he failed to navigate a slight curve when he crossed the double yellow center line and collided head on with a school bus. The school bus was carrying 17 Raisbeck Aviation High School students. Many of the students sustained minor injuries while four were transported to the hospital.

When deputies arrived on scene, Lash was found unconscious and trapped in the driver’s seat.

The rear passenger, Denita Brown, 31, was also found unconscious.

Both Lash and Brown were removed from the vehicle by fire crews. Brown was transported to Harborview Medical Center and later died from her injuries April 29, 2018.

Charging documents state the marked school zone is 20 mph when children are present; elementary students at Southern Heights were present at the time of the collision. Otherwise the speed limit is 30 mph.

The vehicle was equipped with an event data recorder and detectives were able to analyze the stored data leading up to the collision. The instrument recorded 4.55 seconds prior to the airbags deploying. According to charging documents, it showed Lash was traveling 42.3 mph.

The data showed he was neither on the accelerator nor the brake. Also leading up to the collision, the recorder showed there was no steering, braking or accelerating.

Just before the collision at .05 seconds before the airbags deployed, the data showed the vehicle was braking and made a sudden turn to the right.

At the time of collision, according to charging documents, the stolen vehicle was traveling 34.2 mph.

Lash later admitted to detectives to smoking marijuana and using heroin or methamphetamine daily. The charging documents stated, his blood work supported this statement.

Upon searching the vehicle, deputies found small pieces of tin foil folded up that appeared to be consistent with smoking heroin, the documents continue. Ash was also found around the center console and cup holders and a plastic baggie with what appeared to be marijuana was also found.

The stolen vehicle’s license plate had been removed and was located inside the vehicle. A temporary paper plate was tapped to the rear window.

The stolen Toyota Prius was discovered and reported missing to the Federal Way Police Department by the owner on April 25, 2018.

2018 Possession of a Stolen Vehicle

On Feb. 28, 2018 around 11 p.m. Federal Way police were patrolling the Safeway parking lot located at 28810 Military Road S.

Officers ran the plate of a red Honda Civic and discovered the vehicle was reported as stolen out of Seattle earlier that day.

Officers made contact with Lash, who was the only occupant in the running vehicle. According to charging documents, officers discovered the vehicle was running without any keys in the ignition.

However, two keys were located under the driver’s seat — the keys appeared to be shaved and belonged to a Toyota and an Acura. Both keys started the vehicle and opened the trunk, the documents state.

Officers spoke with Lash at the scene and reportedly told them he got the vehicle from his friend Randy. He told officers he went to Randy’s house where they got high on opiates and then Lash decided to drive to Safeway for a drink. He added, Randy was not in a condition to drive.

Randy reportedly told Lash to take the Honda but did not give a key. Lash told officers he did not remember how he got the vehicle started. He told officers he believed people brought stolen vehicles and goods to Randy and thought the Honda could possibly be stolen.

Lash added he was too “high” to think clearly and drove the vehicle anyway, charging documents state.

Prior to the April collision, Lash had been sentenced Feb. 16, 2018 for second degree taking a vehicle without permission and second degree vehicle prowl.

Lash’s last known address is listed as Federal Way in an apartment complex on Military Road South.

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