TACOMA, WA – Today, Michael Donavan Beal, 44, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, manslaughter in the first degree, hit and run involving death, and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. Beal was driving a stolen car and running from police when he ran a red light and t-boned Janice Porcher’s car, killing her almost instantly. She was 53.
Porcher’s Aunt, Jeanne Werner-Spalding, was one of many family members in the courtroom. She addressed Beal before he was sentenced. “Janice is deceased much too soon. She won’t be here for her children to marry, have children and grandchildren,” Werner-Spalding said. “You, sir, cannot take your actions back.”
The case was handled by Deputy Prosecutor Tim Jones. Superior Court Judge Garold Johnson sentenced Beal to the maximum sentence allowable, more than 23 years. “I’m looking at a record that started 27 years ago… the sentence imposed can never equate the damage that’s been done,” Judge Johnson said.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Janice Porcher, an innocent victim of vehicle violence,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On June 29, 2017, at 9:42 a.m., a Puyallup Tribal Police Officer was on routine patrol. While eastbound on Pacific Highway in Fife, he ran the license plate on a vehicle to his right, driven by Beal, revealing that it had been reported stolen. The officer confirmed with dispatch, and then positioned his patrol car behind the vehicle.
The officer followed the vehicle with his lights and siren activated as Beal drove through a parking lot, exiting to westbound Pacific Hwy E. making several turns, and accelerating to speeds estimated at 60-65 miles per hour.
At the intersection of 54th and Pacific Hwy E., Beal went into the oncoming lanes of traffic and then made a right turn to head westbound on Pacific Hwy E. The defendant continued westbound on Pacific Hwy E. and approached the intersection of Alexander Ave E. and Pacific Hwy E. at speeds that witnesses estimated to be in excess of 70-miles-per-hour, until crashing into Porcher.
After the crash, Beal fled on foot but was quickly taken into custody.
A records check showed that Beal was on supervision by the Department of Corrections for a felony drug and property crime committed in Snohomish County. He failed to show up for supervision on June 12, 2017, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, [email protected].