Redmond man who killed Kirkland bicyclist charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
December 12, 2011 · Updated 4:12 PM
A Redmond man was charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving on Monday for striking and killing a Kirkland bicyclist.
Nathan Jeremie Godwin, 26, struck Bradley Nakatani, 36, with his SUV while the Kirkland man was riding a bicycle in the early morning of Dec. 8 at the intersection of 132nd Avenue Northeast and Northeast 124th Street in Kirkland near the Redmond city limits.
Godwin was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He posted a $500,000 bail and was released from jail after his first court appearance on Friday.
If convicted, Godwin faces between 36-48 months in prison.
Godwin, a convicted felon, has an extensive driving record, including more than a dozen traffic violations for speeding, disobeying road signals, failure to stop at signals and reckless endangerment.
"This is a very busy hub," said Kirkland Police spokesman Lt. Mike Murray on Dec. 8. "The debris field was so big we couldn't just shut down a lane or two."
Godwin admitted to police he was speeding at approximately 60 mph in the 35 mph zone when he drove through the intersection, according to police records.
The Medical Examiner's Office said Natakani had a skull fracture, among other injuries.
The busy intersection was closed during the nine-hour investigation. The closure backed up traffic for a mile on Northeast 124th Street as it is a main arterial through north Kirkland, with access to 405, the Totem Lake shopping area and Redmond. Metro buses also had to be rerouted.
Police said the cyclist was heading home from work, traveling west on Northeast 124th Street and turned left to go south on Slater Ave. when the SUV, traveling east, struck the man.
There was one passenger in the SUV, who advised Godwin to go back to the scene after they had traveled about a block, according to police documents.
Kirkland police responded at 2:50 a.m. to the fatal traffic collision. The man on the bike was wearing reflective clothing, lights and a helmet.
"He had quite a bit of reflective gear," said Murray. "He had a light on his helmet and bike and a very large backpack."
Nakatani's sister and father showed up at the scene a few hours after the accident.
"They are meeting with our chaplain," said Murray on Dec. 8.
Godwin told police that Nakatani appeared to be veering into his lane and that he swerved in an attempt to avoid the collision.
He initially stated that he had not consumed any alcoholic beverages, but later told police that he had consumed an alcoholic-type beverage he called "Jeremiah Weed Iced Tea," as well as two glasses of champagne, other alcoholic beverages and smoked a marijuana "blunt."
He also admitted that when he woke up at 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 he took Lexapro and Suboxone, which he uses to treat his opiate addiction.
Police said that Godwin agreed to a voluntary field-sobriety test, of which he did not perform well and was unable to complete certain parts.
The suspect also produced a blood-alcohol sample of .078 at 3:34 a.m., at least 45 minutes after the accident. The legal limit in Washington State is .08.
Godwin's arraignment is set for Dec. 22 at the King County Courthouse.
About 100 friends and family gathered at the intersection to pay respects to Nakatani on Friday afternoon.
He was a software engineer at Redmond's Alston Grid and was heading home from work when he was killed.
Nakatani was a 1994 Newport High School graduate, who earned a Master's degree from Stanford.
This is the second time this year that a bicyclist has been hit and killed in Kirkland.
John Przychodzen, 49, was riding northbound along the shoulder of Juanita Drive Northeast near 86th Avenue Northeast when he was struck and killed by a truck on July 22.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.