Driver in Fatal Crash Arrested, Charged with Vehicular Homicide
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a two-car fatal crash yesterday evening. Just after impact, the vehicles burst into flames before coming to a stop. The victim driver suffered severe burns and was transported to the hospital but later succumbed to her injuries. The causing driver was transported for minor injuries and, upon his release, was arrested and booked for Vehicular Homicide.
On August 15, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a reported two-vehicle crash on W. Rutter Parkway, west of N. Indian Trail Road.
Multiple calls reported the collision, with some stating they heard an explosion and could see large flames.
Arriving Deputies observed the adult female victim receiving medical treatment. She sustained severe burns and was transported to the hospital for additional care.
The second driver, identified as 23-year-old Jackson A. Neal, was sitting off the roadway in a ditch, appeared to be crying, and saying, “Is she okay?”.
Neal stated he was driving to the store but didn’t remember the collision. As he spoke, his speech was slurred, and he appeared very disoriented. He claimed he was uninjured.
The victim’s husband was at the scene. He told Deputies he was driving a truck, towing a boat, directly in front of his wife. He noticed a ball of flames behind him, quickly pulled over and ran back to help.
Additional witnesses, who either heard the explosion or observed the flames, went to the scene to assist. Initial statements indicate Neal and the victim were the only occupants of the involved vehicles.
Traffic Unit Investigators responded to the scene to determine how this collision occurred. Drug Recognition Expert Corporal Todd Miller responded to the hospital to contact Neal, who was being medically evaluated. Investigators learned the victim was traveling east on Rutter Parkway when she was struck from behind by the vehicle driven by Neal. The victim’s car burst into flames, which eventually engulfed both vehicles.
Corporal Miller noted Neal’s eyes were blood-shot as they spoke. Neal said he was driving home from the store and had the cruise control set at 49 mph, but he didn’t know what happened after that. His speech was slow and slurred. He claimed he had not consumed any alcohol or drugs.
After further investigation, Corporal Miller offered Neal a voluntary breath test, and Neal agreed. The test showed Neal’s BAC at .207. Afterward, Neal admitted he had been drinking alcohol throughout the day. Corporal Miller requested and obtained a search warrant for a blood sample from Neal. A short time after a sample was collected, Corporal Miller was advised the victim was deceased.
After Neal was medically cleared, he was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Vehicular Homicide.
Although this case remains under investigation, Traffic Unit Technicians believe speed and impairment are factors in this horrific fatal crash. The blood sample obtained from Neal will be sent to the lab for testing, which will take several weeks.