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Des Moines man struck by car, killed crossing Kent street ; Seattle driver arrested

The Washington State Patrol arrested a 29-year-old Seattle man for investigation of vehicular homicide in connection with the death of a Des Moines man who was struck while walking across the Kent-Des Moines Road at West Meeker Street at about 5:25 a.m. Sunday in Kent.

Robert Joe, 29, of Des Moines, crossed against traffic in a marked crosswalk and was hit by a car traveling eastbound on the Kent-Des Moines Road, also known as State Route 516, according to a State Patrol media release.

Paramedics transported Joe to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died Sunday.

Troopers found Joe's vehicle in a ditch near the intersection of the Kent-Des Moines Road and West Meeker Street.

"It looks like he had driven off the road and was walking for help," said State Patrol spokeswoman Christina Martin in a phone interview Monday.

Joe was hit by a 1989 Toyota Cressida driven by the Seattle man. Neither the driver nor his two passengers were injured.

Troopers arrested the Seattle man Sunday after the accident when he reportedly told them he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Martin said.

The man remained in custody Monday at the King County jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

It could be two or three weeks before state crime lab results of a blood test of the driver are known, Martin said.

"There is more responsibility on the driver," Martin said about the reasons for the arrest in a potential vehicular homicide case involving a pedestrian. "Maybe if a driver is not impaired, maybe they see the person crossing the street."

The State Patrol's investigation into the accident will remain open until more is known about the condition of the driver.

"We will see when investigators determine the level of impairment," Martin said. "Then we will turn the information over to (King County) prosecutors to decide whether a vehicular homicide charge or what should be filed."

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