It's a tragedy, to be sure. A man is driving an SUV in Burien when he reportedly runs a red light and crashes into the side of a Toyota Corolla turning left. The woman driving the Toyota is killed, and her ten-year old son is injured.
The man, 20-year old M. S. of Kent, with vehicular homicide and assault, offenses which are consistent with this type of incident. But it appears that police and at least two media outlets are trying to turn this into a DUI case.
That's apparent by these two headlines:
Millions of Americans take medications every day - including M.S., that the man takes medication for mental health issues. But none of these news articles provide any other evidence that M.S. was driving erratically because he was high, woozy, or in any other "drug-induced" state.
So why is WSP and the news media so quick to classify this as a DUI case? They haven't cited any blood tests, field sobriety tests, or other clues to support such a finding.
For the media, the answer is easy: DUI stories get more attention, which is what the news outlets want. For WSP, it may be an early attempt to gain leverage over the defendant in the hopes of maximizing the penalty for the crash.
It's quite possible that the facts will eventually show that M.S. did have a high concentration of drugs in his system. But jumping to such a conclusion at this early stage of the case is inaccurate and irresponsible.