TACOMA, WA – Today James Southard, Jr., 51, was sentenced to an exceptional sentence of 27 years after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide. The defendant struck and killed Gary Slick, who was walking on a roadside in Bonney Lake.
“This is another unfortunate example of why drugs and driving don’t mix,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Because of the exceptional sentence, this defendant should never be on our roads again.”
On August 11, 2012, at approximately 3:30pm, the victim was walking on the shoulder near the intersection of State Route 410 and 214th Ave E in Bonney Lake. The defendant swerved onto the shoulder, hitting and killing the victim. The defendant initially fled the scene on foot, but was later identified by witnesses when he returned to his vehicle parked on the side of the road.
After being placed under arrest, the defendant told officers, “It wasn’t my fault. He was in the road… This isn’t fair.” Inside the defendant’s truck, officers found methamphetamine and over 170 prescription drug pills.
In 1999, the defendant caused a multiple car accident that resulted in the death of Shawn Fairbanks. The defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident and was convicted of vehicular homicide.
Heather Songer, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office