Adna Man Found Guilty of Vehicular Homicide in Pacific County Trial; Defense Expected to Appeal

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A jury has convicted an Adna man of vehicular homicide two and a half years after he was involved in a fatal collision outside of Menlo, but the jury failed to agree upon at least one of three conditions for the charge, meaning the trial could potentially be ruled a mistrial.

The defendant, Mickey S. Pine, 41, is currently scheduled to be sentenced in Pacific County Superior Court on Oct. 29.

The conviction carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Pine’s attorney, Pam Nogueira of Ingram, Zelasko & Goodwin, LLC, has stated she intends to appeal Pine’s conviction.

The jury deliberated for four hours before issuing a verdict at the end of the four-day trial in Pacific County Superior Court on Oct. 1, according to reporting by the Chinook Observer. What they delivered to the judge was a verdict finding the defendant guilty of vehicular homicide, but the 12-person jury failed to agree on at least one of three conditions required for a vehicular homicide conviction in the state of Washington: that the defendant was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, was driving in a reckless manner or was driving with disregard for the safety of others.

Pine had been accused of driving a 2017 Toyota Tacoma while under the influence of alcohol while on his way home from South Bend on March 31, 2019. He was in the eastbound lane of state Route 6 when, around 2 a.m., he allegedly crossed the center line near mile marker 7 and struck a 1995 Mercury Cougar driven by Shawn D. Clearwater, 49, of Raymond, head-on.

Clearwater was treated for severe injuries and he died in the back of an ambulance.

While Washington State Patrol provided a recreation of the scene based on gathered evidence and analyzed data, Pine testified that the collision actually occurred in the eastbound lane and that it was Clearwater’s vehicle that crossed the center line and struck his, according to reporting by the Chinook Observer.

One of Nogueira’s arguments in Pine’s defense was to question the legitimacy of the vial used to collect Pine’s blood for a blood alcohol content test in the aftermath of the incident, as the lot containing the vial was recalled shortly after Pine’s sample was taken.

Further evidence in Pine’s defense included Clearwater’s toxicology report, which showed he had enough methamphetamine in his system to have overdosed at the time of the incident. That, combined with a lack of an official cause of death from the Pacific County Coroner’s Office, cast doubt on whether the collision killed Clearwater.

However, the jury found that Pine was responsible for Clearwater’s death.

Pine, who has been on pretrial release since April 2019, is to remain out of custody until his sentencing.

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