Woman charged with vehicular homicide in death of Puyallup pastor
TACOMA, WA – 12/17/2014 – Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Kallie Marion James, 19, with vehicular homicide for running through a stop sign and striking Pastor Eric Renz as he rode his bicycle in Puyallup. James was charged with vehicular assault on Nov. 26, 2014, and she posted $250,000 bail. Renz died two weeks later. James pleaded not guilty to the amended charge this afternoon, and she remains out of custody on bail.
“Eric was an active, good-hearted and well-liked member of our community,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Many are feeling this loss. His death unfortunately serves as another reminder of why driving and drugs don’t mix.”
On Nov. 24, 2014, James ran a stop sign near the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup and struck Renz. When police arrived, James’ eyes appeared “watery and bloodshot,” and she admitted to taking an anti-depressant and smoking marijuana prior to driving. A drug recognition expert examined James and determined that she was “impaired and unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.” James’ blood samples were sent to the Washington State Patrol’s Toxicology Lab for analysis. Results are pending.
Witnesses told police that James was speeding and did not attempt to stop at the stop sign prior to striking Renz, who was wearing a bright-yellow coat.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.