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Man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide, reckless driving in death of Kirkland man

Kirkland resident and Google employee Steve Lacey was killed July 24, 2011 when a Montlake Terrace man lost control of his SUV and slammed into Lacey
Kirkland resident and Google employee Steve Lacey was killed July 24, 2011 when a Montlake Terrace man lost control of his SUV and slammed into Lacey's BMW on N.E. 85th Street in Kirkland. Patrick Rexroat pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless driving on Thursday.
— image credit: Contributed

A Snohomish County man who killed Kirkland resident Steve Lacey last summer while driving drunk, changed his not guilty plea in King County Superior Court Thursday.

Patrick Rexroat pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges in the fatal collision of the former Google engineer on busy N.E. 85th Street in Kirkland on July 24.

Rexroat originally pleaded not guilty in August. The man was traveling southbound on 405 through Kirkland when he says a car cut him off, according to court documents. Rexroat told police that he attempted to follow the car as it exited the freeway in his SUV. Rexroat lost control of his vehicle, driving across the east-bound lane of N.E. 85th and then colliding with Lacey’s BMW, killing him instantly.

Lacey was not involved in the original road rage incident and was an innocent victim of the incident. Charging documents allege that Rexroat was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.29, more than three times the legal limit.

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 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 police.

Prosecutors will recommend the maximum of four years in prison when Rexroat is sentenced at 1 p.m. March 9 at the King County Courthouse.

At the time of Rexroat’s original plea in August, Lacey’s sister, Sue said that the plea and the potential punishment was “disgusting.”

Satterburg, along with family and elected officials have began lobbying Olympia to change state law and increase the penalties for vehicular homicide in cases of DUI accidents.

Lacey is survived by his wife Nabila Lacey and his two children.

“My children are suffering,” said Lacey during a news conference in December lobbying for stiffer penalties. “They spent the holidays wishing for the one gift they couldn’t have and that was to have the most wonderful father back in our lives.”

 

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