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Auburn man pleads not guilty to vehicular assault
A 24-year-old Auburn man pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of vehicular assault for allegedly hitting a passing motorist who was filling up his gas tank on the right shoulder of I-5 in Sea-Tac on March 28.
Appearing in a red jail jumpsuit, Mugiraneza Vianne, a native of Tanzania, who does not speak English, required the services of an interpreter and let his attorney speak for him.
Prosecutors allege that Vianne was driving his maroon 1999 Nissan Quest minivan just north of the 200th street exit on March 28 under the influence of alcohol while talking on his cell phone. According to court papers, he drifted out of his lane of travel onto the paved right shoulder where he struck 40-year-old Patrick Franklin of Bellevue, who was fueling his disabled vehicle. Franklin sustained life-threatening injuries, including a broken neck and possible paralysis and was transported to Harborview Medical Center.
According to court papers, Vianne was exhibiting signs of impairment, and his cell phone log indicated phone calls in process at the time of the accident. Witnesses also saw him holding a cell phone when the collision occurred. He was placed under arrest for vehicular assault and a blood draw was performed under special evidence.
There was one passenger in Franklin’s vehicle at the time of the collision who was not injured.