Nicholas Slater, left, listens in as his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Schueler, talks to King County Superior Court Judge Karen Donohue during Slater’s arraignment Monday in Kent. Slater pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Nicholas Slater, left, listens in as his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Schueler, talks to King County Superior Court Judge Karen Donohue during Slater’s arraignment Monday in Kent. Slater pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Kent city parks employee pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide

Fired from his job, Slater was released from jail on $150,000, awaits trial date

A city of Kent parks maintenance employee charged with allegedly striking and killing a pedestrian last month pleaded not guilty Monday to vehicular homicide at his arraignment in King County Superior Court in Kent.

King County prosecutors said Nicholas B. Slater, 37, of SeaTac, hit a 73-year-old Kent man walking across an East Hill street in a reported hit-and-run incident on Feb. 23.

Slater was released from custody Monday at the King County jail on $150,000 bail but is scheduled to return to court for a case-setting hearing on March 28 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. A trial date could be set on that date but typically attorneys ask for more time to prepare and the case is continued.

The city fired Slater after the incident for violation of its substance abuse policy. Slater admitted to Kent Police that he had been drinking beer at the Sidetrack Eatery and Pub, 10700 SE 208th St., prior to the collision, according to court documents. Slater had worked about four months with the city. The city hired Slater in November as a temporary, part-time employee assigned to the Parks Department’s maintenance division.

Alan Kern, 73, of Kent, died at the scene of the collision at about 6:08 p.m. Feb. 23 at the intersection of 108th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 204th Street, after he was reportedly struck by a city of Kent Parks Department Ford F-250. Kern had just walked off a Metro bus prior to being hit, according to court documents.

Under conditions of his release, Slater cannot drive without a valid license, insurance and breath alcohol ignition interlock device; must avoid businesses where alcohol or marijuana are primarily sold; and must participate in alcohol and breath monitoring.

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