TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Matthew James Haygood, 31, with vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular assault, failure to remain at an accident resulting in death, failure to remain at injury accident, and duty in case of damage to attended vehicle or other property. Haygood was drunk when he struck a family’s vehicle near Spanaway, killing the father. He pleaded not guilty today and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
“This is a particularly horrible example of why drunk driving is so dangerous,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Haygood was driving his neighbor’s oversized pickup truck on March 7, 2015, when he rear-ended a vehicle in Spanaway. Witnesses said Haygood was swerving and crossing the centerline prior to the crash. Haygood sped away from the scene.
Ten minutes later, Haygood crossed the centerline of SR 507 near East Gate Road and struck an SUV, carrying a family of four, head-on. The father, who was driving, died at the scene. His wife, the front-seat passenger, suffered substantial abdominal and head injuries, including the loss of an eye. Their 12-year-old daughter was trapped in the backseat behind her father. She had a head laceration, a spinal fracture and two broken legs. The other daughter escaped serious injury. Haygood’s truck was fully engulfed in flames when first responders arrived.
Haygood hid in the woods for four hours. When he returned to the scene, he said he had been “wandering around the woods for hours calling for help.” Haygood told officers that he borrowed the truck from a neighbor so he could pick up some wood pallets. He then went to a friend’s house and drank before getting behind the wheel. Toxicology results are pending.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office