TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Jayce Lee Damon Randall, 26, with vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment. In the early morning of Saturday, March 16, 2013, the defendant was driving his niece and nephew while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. He lost control and crashed, killing 9-year-old Donovan Best.
"Drugs, drinking, and driving lead to senseless tragedies like this," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "Our prayers go out to the victim's surviving 8-year-old sister and her family."
On March 16, at about 1:00 a.m., the defendant left a family barbeque with his 9-year-old nephew, Donovan Best, and his 8-year-old niece, T.K. Driving westbound on State Road 16, the defendant sped up as he exited onto Purdy Drive Northwest. His niece began crying, and asked her uncle to slow down. He was unable to maintain control of his vehicle around the curve, crossed into the other lane of traffic, and then over corrected to the right. The vehicle struck a ditch, became airborne, and rolled at least once.
The defendant and his nephew were ejected from the vehicle. Both were only wearing the shoulder strap of their seatbelts. The defendant came to rest near the vehicle in a ditch. His nephew landed 50 feet past the vehicle on the pavement. T.K. freed herself from the backseat, crawled out the car window, found her brother unconscious, and waved down traffic for assistance.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., Washington State Patrol and Gig Harbor Fire Department arrived at the scene. While they treated injuries, officers found 122.5 grams of marijuana outside the vehicle. The defendant admitted to smoking the marijuana about an hour prior to the accident. When questioned about what happened, he stated he "drank too much." He also admitted to having four drinks in the last hour, and a portable breath test found his alcohol level to be 0.194.
The defendant was transported to Tacoma General Hospital. Donovan was transported to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. The next day, at approximately 10:00 a.m., doctors determined that Donovon had no discernable brain activity. Shortly after 10:00 p.m., he was taken off life support, and pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m.
On March 18, 2013, the defendant was booked into the Pierce County Jail. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming. The defendant pled not guilty at his arraignment today. Bail as set at $250,000. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].