KIRKLAND, Wash. – A crash that left a well-known software engineer dead Sunday may have been the result of road rage. State troopers say the victim was an innocent driver who had nothing to do with it.
The Washington State Patrol believes it began around 2 p.m. on southbound Interstate 405. The driver of a black Hyundai SUV exited the freeway in an attempt to follow a car that he claims cut him off. He exited at NE 85th Street, rounded a corner at a high speed, lost control and hit a raised median.
The car rolled and slammed into a BMW that was driving west on 85th Street. The driver of the BMW, 43-year-old Steve Lacey, died instantly.
Lacey was married with a 7-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, friends said. He was an engineer at Google. He and his wife just celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary.
"It's a horrible loss, losing Steve," said friend and neighbor Anna Rising. "It's horrible for his family, his friends, his co-workers and our community. We're a very close-knit neighborhood and he's a big part of our neighborhood."
The suspect, a 56-year-old Snohomish man, survived and was briefly taken to the hospital before going to the King County Jail. He could be charged with vehicular homicide. Investigators believe he had been drinking. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
"It's tragic," said Trooper Jeff Merrill. "The driver that was struck and killed had nothing to do with this incident."
As for the driver of the second car that allegedly cut off the suspect on I-405, troopers say it's possible he or she had no idea they were involved in the incident. Investigators want to find that person.
Any witnesses are asked to call the Washington State Patrol.