One of the drivers involved in a two-vehicle crash that killed a 20-year-old Castle Rock man on U.S. Highway 12 in October has been charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
Ray J. Gleason, 43, of Olympia, was allegedly driving a Toyota Prius westbound on the highway at a speed of 103 miles per hour when he crossed into the eastbound lane, driving in an “S” motion, and crashed into the passenger side of an eastbound Nissan Altima that had swerved to try and avoid a collision, according to Lewis County Superior Court documents.
The Washington State trooper who was the first to respond to the incident reported that the damage to the passenger side of the Nissan was “extensive” and that the vehicle’s passenger, James Smith, would not respond to him “in any way.” Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Nissan suffered fractures and contusions in his arm from the crash and was transported to a hospital for treatment.
Gleason, who was also transported to the hospital after the crash, reported that he may have been having a seizure at the time of the collision.
“He doesn’t recall what happened,” said Gleason’s attorney, Paul Strophy, at Gleason’s preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday.
Medical personnel indicated that he was “showing signs of suffering from a seizure” during his transport to the hospital, and an investigation into the incident found that Gleason suffered from seizures and was on medication for them — but was reportedly “not amenable” to a doctor’s advice to increase his dosage, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
He was medically cleared to drive at the time of the crash.
The incident occurred Oct. 29, 2020, and criminal charges were filed Jan. 29, 2021. Gleason was never arrested. He was asked to appear in court for his Feb. 23 preliminary appearance via a court summons.
Since the incident, Gleason has been working with his doctor to figure out his seizure medication and has voluntarily not driven a motor vehicle “because of concerns about the risk,” Strophy said.
Due to Gleason’s lack of felony history and his voluntary appearance via a court summons, both the defense and prosecuting attorneys requested a $10,000 unsecured bail — meaning that he will remain out of custody and not have to pay any money unless he misses a court hearing, in which case he will be required to pay the full bail amount — instead of a secured bail that would require him to be taken into custody until he paid the bail amount in cash or via a bail bond.
However, due to the severity of the charges, Judge Joely A. O’Rourke decided to set bail at $100,000 unsecured.
“I do have a lot of concerns for the safety of the community,” she said, adding that while she appreciated Gleason’s voluntary provision not to drive, she was going to add it as an official provision to his release conditions.
“I don’t want this to happen again,” she said.
Gleason is scheduled for an arraignment hearing at 3 p.m. on March 3.