Man who allegedly struck Auburn woman with car pleads not guilty

A 25-year-old Bonney Lake man pleaded not guilty Monday in King County Superior Court to vehicular assault for allegedly having struck and critically injured an Auburn woman July 19 as she stood alongside her car at 901 1st NE near her home.

Samuel Cruz remains in jail. A case setting hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center.

The victim, Stacey Ankerfelt, 28, continues to make progress in her recovery.

According to police, shortly before 6 p.m. that day, Ankerfelt had walked around to the street-side of her car when Cruz, southbound on J Street Southeast, hit her with his car, then continued into a car parked in front of her's.

Witnesses said the impact threw Ankerfelt at least 30 feet. According to the Valley Regional Fire Authority, firefighters found her on the road, unconscious and with life-threatening injuries.

Medics rushed Ankerfelt to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with multiple skull fractures, a cerebral hemorrhage, and broken ribs.

Ankerfelt teaches fifth grade at Kent's Scenic Hill Elementary School.

Cruz, police say, stopped and waited for police, fire, and medics to arrive. Police arrested him.

Investigators who spoke to Cruz after the accident noticed that he seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as he struggled to walk and keep his balance when they were taking him to the hospital for a mandatory blood draw.

According to police, Cruz told investigators he takes a drug called Suboxone for opiate dependency.

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