Auburn police officer charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, hit and run

Smith allegedly crashed his Mercedes twice in less than 20 minutes in Seattle

Auburn Police officer Michael Smith has been charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving and hit and run stemming from two separate crashes on April 23 while he was off-duty, according to charging documents.

At around 10:30 p.m. April 23, Smith was driving his 2016 Mercedes on Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle, and his girlfriend was in the passenger seat, according to charging documents. Smith was driving in the outside lane and allegedly struck the rear right side of a taxi that was in the inside lane, according to charging documents.

Both vehicles stopped and Smith allegedly got out of his vehicle, then opened the door to the taxi and attempted to rip the driver out of his cab through the passenger’s side, according to charging documents. After he was unsuccessful, Smith allegedly walked to the driver’s side door and attempted to open it, but the cab driver said he was calling the police.

Smith then got back in his Mercedes and sped off northbound on Alaskan Way without providing his information to the cab driver, according to charging documents. The passenger of the cab later identified Smith as the man who crashed into the cab and attempted to pull the driver out, according to charging documents.

Around 10 minutes later, and three miles away from the first crash site, Smith was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed northbound on 15th Avenue West, charging documents say. One witness said they saw Smith driving in the wrong lane to pass traffic, according to charging documents.

Data from Smith’s car recorded Smith was driving 85 mph five seconds before the crash — the speed limit is 30 mph on the road he was driving down, charging documents say.

At the intersection of 15th Avenue West and Gilman Drive West, Smith apparently tried to turn right, but lost control of his car, charging documents say. Then Smith allegedly jumped the curb, side-swiped a telephone pole, then hit a 65-year-old man, killing him, charging documents say.

Smith’s vehicle continued through a grassy embankment, striking three metal mailboxes before coming to a stop around 100 feet from where he first jumped the curb, charging documents say.

The man Smith allegedly hit suffered “catastrophic injuries and was killed almost immediately,” charging documents say.

A witness said Smith stumbled out of his car and told a witness he was OK before pointing to the man hit by the car and remarking “he’s not,” charging documents say. Smith’s girlfriend was uninjured in the crash and was not cooperative with police, according to the charging documents.

Responding officers said Smith was clearly impaired and that he even admitted to drinking alcohol at a Mariners game earlier that night, charging documents say.

Smith posted bail after his first appearance in court, according to charging documents. Smith is on administrative leave, according to the Auburn Police Department.

Smith is the second Auburn Police officer to be charged with a violent felony in the last two years. Auburn Police officer Jeffrey Nelson is currently awaiting trial for the murder and assault of Jesse Sarey.