Innocent Kirkland man killed in road rage accident on N.E. 85th Street, memorial fund set up
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
July 26, 2011 · Updated 12:50 PM
Kirkland resident and Google engineer Steve Lacey was driving west on busy N.E. 85th Street Sunday — a trip many Kirkland and Redmond residents take routinely. But this drive ended tragically as Lacey, 43, was the innocent victim of a road rage incident he was not involved in. The incident began on Interstate 405 and ultimately took Lacey’s life.
The road rage incident began around 2 p.m. on southbound 405 when the driver of a Hyundai SUV claims he was cut off by another car, according to the Washington State Patrol.
"The driver of the SUV took the exit in an attempt to follow the car that he claims to have cut him off," said WSP spokesman Capt. Jason Berry.
The SUV, traveling at a high speed, used the east-bound N.E. 85th Street exit. The SUV reportedly crossed the east-bound lanes and went into the west-bound lanes of N.E. 85th Street, where it struck the top of Lacey's BMW, killing him instantly.
The State Patrol said that excessive speed and alcohol contributed to the crash. The driver of the SUV, a 56-year-old Mountlake Terrace man, was taken to a hospital and then the King County Jail.
"The driver of the black Hyundai was placed under arrest and is being investigated on vehicular homicide charges," said Berry.
The man’s bail was set at $50,000 during a hearing Monday and he will be charged later this week.
According to court documents, the man admitted to being drunk and had trouble maintaining his balance. His blood alcohol level at the scene was 0.328 or four times the legal limit.
According to Lacey's blog site, he just celebrated his 10th Anniversary with his wife and has two children, a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. He moved to Redmond in 1997 from the London where he grew up. Lacey previously worked for Microsoft in Redmond until 2006 and Facebook for a short time according to his Web site.
Chee Chew, Engineering Director at Google Kirkland, issued a statement Monday: “We were saddened to hear this tragic news. Our hearts go out to Steve's family during this difficult time. He will be missed by all of us at Google.”
An educational trust has been established for Lacey's children named the Children's Memorial Trust of Steve Lacey. Donations can be made through www.paypal.com at email@example.com or at any Chase Bank. A Facebook page has also been set up.
"Steve was a friend of our family, and apart from being a genius tech guy, a wonderful, kind human being, loving husband and father," posted John Brewer on the Facebook page. "I admired him for being so talented and at the same time remarkably modest and laid back. He was a GREAT man. I wish I had spent more time with him. I can't believe the bad luck, and tragedy in his life being cut short."
The page had well over 600 "likes" by Tuesday afternoon.
"I am shocked," posted Bob Silva. "I worked a bit with steve in the games groups. Not only did I see Steve at Costco earlier that day (and I hadn't seen for years), we then drove by an unexplainable accident that puzzled us for hours. How can cars crash with such force in a clear view, relatively low speed area? In the end, explanations did not matter. My family cried for the anonymous (then) victims of that freak accident on that beautiful sunny day."
Investigators are looking for the car that allegedly cut off the SUV and said that it is possible they didn't know they were apart of the incident. Anyone with more information on the accident is asked to contact the Washington State Patrol at 425-649-4370.Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.