King County prosecutors have charged a 50-year-old Kent man with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for reportedly driving under the influence of alcohol and causing a head-on collision Aug. 4 on Kent Black Diamond Road Southeast that killed one man and injured a female.
Christopher E. Hamilton is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 20 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on the charges, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Hamilton was booked into the county jail Aug. 9 and released about two hours later after posting bond, according to jail records. Bail was set at $100,000.
Jaime Alonso Gomez, 50, of Kent, died from multiple blunt force injuries in the crash, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. Gomez was a right front passenger in a Ford Escape that collided with a Ford F-350 driven by Hamilton at about 7:10 p.m. Aug. 4 in the 29500 block of Kent Black Diamond Road Southeast in unincorporated King County.
Hamilton, who was alone in the pickup, allegedly crossed over a double yellow line when northbound on the road and struck the Escape. The F-350 then rolled onto its roof and collided with a Toyota Tacoma that was traveling behind the Escape, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. The injured female, a passenger in the Tacoma, suffered pain, soreness and a broken nose, according to charging papers.
A deputy interviewed Hamilton at the scene of the crash. Hamilton was seated on the guard rail and had a leg and foot injury. The deputy noted Hamilton had slurred speech and a slight odor of intoxicants. When asked, Hamilton told the deputy he had one pint of beer at a nearby bar about an hour prior to the crash, a dose of Suboxone (that he said he takes for a past painkiller addiction) at about noon and one beer while mowing his lawn at about 4 p.m. He said he went to the bar for less than an hour to cool off after getting into an argument with his wife and was on his way home. He lives about one-half mile from the crash scene.
Hamilton told the deputy he did not remember the crash because he “blacked out.”
While Hamilton was in a local hospital, a Tacoma police officer, who is a drug recognition expert, checked Hamilton and observed all six clues of impairment, including watery eyes, slurred speech and the inability to follow basic instructions, according to charging papers. Police obtained a search warrant for a blood sample from Hamilton for toxicology analysis. Those test results are not yet available.
Hamilton’s history includes negligent driving (1986, 1987), second-degree negligent driving (March 2020), speeding 10 mph over the limit (June 2019), speeding 16 mph over the limit (May 2019) and no valid license (1987).