Renton man pleads not guilty in Kent vehicular homicide case
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
September 8, 2010 · 1:33 PM
A 31-year-old Renton man pleaded not guilty Sept. 8 to two counts of vehicular homicide in connection with the deaths of two Des Moines women Aug. 24 in a three-car accident in Kent.
Gregory Aurdell Ross entered the plea at King County Superior Court at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Ross is scheduled to return to court Sept. 22 when a trial date could be set or attorneys from either side could ask for more time to prepare the case.
Ross remained in custody Wednesday at the RJC county jail in Kent. Bail was set at $1 million.
The victims were Kiana Cormier, 24, and Jessica Stenseth, 23. Several relatives of the women attended the arraignment but said they did not want to talk to the media about the case.
Ross was reportedly under the influence of drugs while driving a 2001 Ford Explorer that ran a red light while southbound on 108th Avenue Southeast and crashed into a Kia sedan occupied by the two Des Moines women. The crash occurred at the intersection of Southeast 208th Street.
Ross told Kent Police that he was taking prescribed medication (trazodone, tegretol and carbamazepine) commonly used to treat depression or seizure disorders.
Ross also reportedly had used methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol in the days leading up to the wreck, and police found a meth pipe in his car.
If found guilty of vehicular homicide, Ross faces a prison sentence of up to 4 years, six months, according to state sentencing guidelines, said Ian Goodhew, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
The Kia sedan was lawfully in the intersection, according to probable cause documents filed by the police.
During the wreck, the Kia veered away from the impact with the Ford Explorer and collided with an eastbound Mitsubishi sedan. All three cars came to rest alongside each other on the south side of the street.
Kent Police and firefighters arrived within minutes of the accident and worked quickly to extricate the two women from the Kia. Cormier was the passenger and Stenseth, the driver. Both died at the scene.
A SeaTac man, who drove the Mitsubishi, was uninjured.
Ross reportedly failed field sobriety tests and kept falling asleep while police tried to interview him after the 8:46 p.m. crash, according to charging papers.
Ross has a criminal record that includes fourth-degree assault, harassment, third-degree theft and false reporting.Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at email@example.com or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.