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Man faces three charges in fatal car crash on Auburn's Lea Hill
The King County Prosecutor's office on Thursday charged an 18-year-old man with one count each of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly driving the car that spun out of control in the 11300 block of Southeast 320th on Auburn's Lea Hill Monday night, killing one of his passengers and injuring three others.
Qiang Liu, an exchange student from China attending Green River Community College, remains in King County jail on $2 million bail.
According to charging papers, two of Liu's rear-seat passengers, Zhenyu Yang and Weihao Zu, both 17, were thrown from the car during the accident. Yang was pronounced dead at the scene; Zu, who sustained a traumatic head injury, a fractured pelvis and other internal injuries, continues to fight for his life at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
According to police, the vehicle had been traveling westbound on 320th about 10:10 p.m. at a speed estimated of between 70 and 80 miles per hour in a posted 35-mph zone when Liu lost control, the car slid sideways down the north sidewalk and curb and hit two power poles on the north side of the street, sheering one of them off at the base.
"The right-rear passenger was killed, the middle/rear was seriously hurt and isn't doing well," said Auburn Police Commander Mike Hirman.
As of Friday afternoon, Zu remained in critical condition with internal injuries.
Hirman said that all of the young men in the car were in their late teens or early 20s, and all of them were students at GRCC.
Doctors released the other two passengers late Monday night.
When physicians released Liu from Harborview, police booked him into jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
According to Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office, Liu made his first court appearance Tuesday.
In asking for the high bail, prosecutors noted that police had arrested Liu on Nov. 29, 2013 for trying to elude a police officer, adding that he "appears to be willing to endanger others with his reckless driving."
The man is believed to be a Chinese citizen, with few ties to the community.