A Seattle man suspected of causing a crash that killed one Castle Rock woman and injured three other Castle Rock residents has been charged with vehicular homicide and appears to have been speeding at about 130 mph just before the crash.
Enrico Tipton, 21, was arrested April 18 in Maricopa County, Arizona, according to Washington State Patrol detective Justin Maier. WSP is working to extradite him back to Washington.
Tipton is accused of striking a Ford pickup and causing it to roll on southbound Interstate 5 near Kelso around 8 p.m. on April 7. All four passengers in the pickup were injured, and one died the following morning. Tipton was not injured.
On April 10, Maier phoned Tipton, who said he was already a few states away. Maier asked Tipton where he was going, but Tipton declined to answer. After Maier advised Tipton he would be better off turning himself in, Tipton hung up.
A warrant was issued for Tipton’s arrest the next day, when the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office filed the vehicular homicide charge against Tipton. He was found and arrested a week later.
Witnesses said Tipton was driving his Chevrolet Camaro more than 100 mph in stormy conditions just before the fatal collision. A crash data retrieval report from the Camaro indicated a speed of 132 mph immediately before its airbag deployed, according to court documents. That’s nearly twice the legal speed limit of 70 mph.
The pickup driver, 21-year-old Austin Smith of Castle Rock, and passengers Bailey Dixon, Lukas Brown and Sarah Keele, all 21, were taken by ambulance to St. John Medical Center.
Dixon died the following morning after being transferred to Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Brown, Smith, and Keele survived with injuries. All passengers but Dixon had been wearing seat belts, according to the state patrol.
Tipton’s blood alcohol concentration was about .06, according to a breath test taken on the scene. He agreed he was driving too fast when first contacted by police on April 7, and after being advised he might face criminal charges, he was released to his family.