Drunk driver pleads not guilty in vehicular homicide of Kirkland man
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
August 10, 2011 · Updated 3:20 PM
Patrick Rexroat, 56, of Montlake Terrace, plead not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and reckless driving Tuesday morning to the shock of family and friends of Steve Lacey.
A Google engineer, Lacey was killed in a drunk driving and road rage collision with Rexroat on July 24 while returning from an errand to Costco.
If convicted of the charges, Rexroat will face 31 to 41 months in prison, or 3 1/2 years.
Lacey's sister, Sue said that the plea and the potential punishment was "disgusting."
Rexroat entered the plea in King County Superior Court, as nearly 20 of Lacey's family and friends, including his wife, Nabila and mother, Janet looked on wearing t-shirts in his memory.
Both Janet and Sue said they want to be at every hearing but would have to return to England where they had come from after learning of Lacey's death. Lacey is also survived by his two children, Julian, 7 and Jasmine, 5.
"The tragic death of Steve Lacey was not an accident," King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in a written statement. "It was the predictable result of aggressive driving under extreme intoxication."
Charging documents allege that Rexroat was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.29, more than three times the legal limit, when his SUV exited Interstate 405 at the N.E. 85th Street Exit heading east.
The man allegedly lost control of the vehicle, crossed both east bound lanes and smashed into Lacey's BMW, killing him instantly.
According to court documents, witnesses reported that Rexroat got out of his SUV and began "pounding his chest." Rexroat's attorney Tim Leary said the chest pounding was being misconstrued. He contends that Rexroat suffered chest injuries and was clutching his chest. Rexroat has no criminal history.
When one witness told Rexroat the driver of the other vehicle was dead, Rexroat responded by saying "eh," according to the witness.
The Snohomish County man reportedly told Washington State Patrol troopers that he had been cut off on 405 and exited the freeway at a high rate of speed while in pursuit of the vehicle. Rexroat also told troopers that he had "way too much" to drink.
He is unemployed after losing his custom upholstering business, Rankin Upholstery of Bothell.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler ruled the next hearing to be held on Aug. 22. Rexroat is being held on $1 million bail.
An education fund has also been set up for Lacey's children. To donate, go to any Chase Bank, where a special account has been set up or email firstname.lastname@example.org.