Teen charged with vehicular homicide in fatal DUI crash

Zoe Rose Phillips admitted to police she had been drinking Hennessey and smoking marijuana before her car struck a guardrail on Interstate 5.

The 18-year-old woman suspected of driving drunk and killing a woman on Aug. 22 was charged with vehicular homicide on Monday in Superior Court.

Zoe Rose Phillips, of Lakewood, admitted to police she had been drinking Hennessey and smoking marijuana before her car struck a guardrail on Interstate 5 in Federal Way, according to charging documents. The crashed killed a passenger in Phillips’s car, 20-year-old Cindy L. Thach of Tacoma.

Phillips was also charged with vehicular assault-DUI and reckless endangerment. Her bail was set at $50,000, under the condition that she wear an ankle bracelet that is designed to detect alcohol consumption 24 hours per day.

The crash happened at approximately 2:22 a.m. last Thursday, when Phillips lost control of her Chevy Cobalt as she drove southbound on I-5 outside of Federal Way. Her vehicle struck the center guardrail and came to rest perpendicular to traffic, according to Washington State Patrol. The vehicle lights were damaged, causing them to stop working, so oncoming traffic could not see the vehicle stalled in the roadway during the dark morning hours. This caused an approaching Toyota Tundra to hit the Chevy.

A WSP trooper approached the Chevy and discovered Thach deceased in the rear passenger seat, as well as a second female passenger, age 26, who was injured.

“I immediately smelled the strong and obvious odor of intoxicating beverage coming off of the driver’s breath and the interior of the car smelled of burnt marijuana,” the trooper noted in the charging documents.

The trooper also described Phillips’s bloodshot red and watery eyes, with droopy eyelids. The trooper observed a jar in the center console that appeared to contain marijuana, as well as pipes near the driver’s seat. Phillips told police she was coming from an after party in south Seattle.

The driver of the Toyota was uninjured and the passenger was transported to the hospital for minor injuries.

Phillips performed field sobriety tests, and a breath sample indicated she was intoxicated. She was arrested and transported to Tacoma General Hospital, where she “thrashed around, screamed obscenities and repeatedly said that she was the most injured because she was so anxious,” charging documents continue.

Her blood alcohol samples are pending Washington State Toxicology Laboratory results.

The injured passenger in Phillips’s Chevy told police that she had offered to drive home, but because the car belonged to the defendant, Phillips insisted on driving the car.

Phillips pre-trial conference is set for Sept. 12 at Superior Court in Tacoma.

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