A 23-year-old Kent man will spend the next 14 years in a state prison for killing four young Kent men when he crashed a pickup at a estimated speed of 80 to 100 mph in 2018 in Tukwila.
Jesse Tenorio is doing time at the Washington Corrections Center, a 1,268 capacity prison for medium, close and maximum security that opened in 1964 in Shelton, northwest of Olympia. The Oct. 7, 2018 crash along State Route 518 near the Interstate 405 interchange killed all four of his passengers, ranging in age from 18 to 22.
Tenorio faced a Feb. 10, 2020, trial for four counts of vehicular homicide. But rather than going to trial, Tenorio pleaded guilty Nov. 22, 2019, to four counts of vehicular homicide, according to court documents obtained this week by the Kent Reporter. One count had a driving under the influence enhancement after a blood test showed he had cocaine and Xanax in his system.
King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott sentenced Tenorio to 14 years, two months in prison. The highest sentencing range was 17 years, six months, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Myron Singh, 22; Luis Perez, 21; Juan Carrasco-Rodriguez, 18; and Anthony Perez, 22, each died at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. Carrasco-Rodriguez died on his 18th birthday in the 2:17 a.m. crash.
Tenorio drifted off of SR 518 to the right and collided with a guardrail that protects support pillars to the southbound I-5 overpass, according to court documents. The pickup then rotated sideways and rolled, according to the Washington State Patrol. Tenorio was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected into nearby blackberry bushes.
During the rollover, the Nissan Titan’s roof struck the southbound I-5 overpass bridge pillar causing the roof to crush inwards onto the four passengers, one in the front passenger seat and three in the rear seat. The pickup then rotated around the backside of the pillar coming to a final rest facing westbound on its wheels.
A State Patrol trooper contacted Tenorio in the back of the medic unit. Tenorio was drifting in and out of consciousness and was unable to answer questions, according to the State Patrol. The trooper noted he could smell an odor of intoxicants coming from Tenorio. Paramedics transported Tenorio to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was treated for injuries and released the next day. Troopers arrested Tenorio at the hospital for investigation of vehicular homicide.
According to charging papers, Tenorio crashed his mother’s 2004 Nissan Titan pickup twice earlier in the night prior to the fatal wreck. Tenorio smashed the pickup into a Kent hillside on South 212th Street near State Route 167. Kent firefighters witnessed the crash and reported all occupants were intoxicated, but Tenorio and his passengers fled the scene prior to police arriving.
A short time later, a witness saw a pickup speed through a gate at a bus tunnel near Sea-Tac Airport. A woman who was getting off her shift at Sea-Tac Airport saw the Nissan Titan traveling an estimated 80 to 100 mph in a secured bus tunnel at the airport. The woman said the secured guard arm to the tunnel entrance had been run down and broken off by the pickup. She recognized the Nissan Titan later when she saw television news footage of the multiple fatality crash, which happened just minutes after she saw the pickup race through the tunnel.
Tenorio was driving a estimated 80 to 100 mph when he crashed the pickup into the I-5 overpass bridge pillar, according to an email from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Hospital personnel collected two vials of blood from Tenorio, according to the State Patrol, which tested the blood for drugs at its crime lab.
“His blood test showed he had cocaine and Xanax in his system,” according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. “Alcohol was not detected.”
Tenorio, whose address was in Kent’s North Park neighborhood, has a prior conviction for DUI in Kent in 2017 that was reduced to reckless endangerment, according to court documents.
Tenorio initially pleaded not guilty in October 2018. He posted $250,000 bail just three days after being booked into the King County Jail, according to jail records.
King County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Amy Freedheim and Dana Cashman reached the plea agreement with Tenorio and his attorneys Samantha Sommerman and Peter Mazzone, part of the Everett-based Mazzone Law firm, which specializes in criminal defense.
“The defendant took responsibility for his actions for the death of all four victims, pleading guilty to four counts of vehicular homicide,” according to an emailed statement this week from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office about the plea agreement. “His plea ensures a predicate crime for future DUIs being felony-DUI (we felt important for a repeat DUI offender).
“The agreed recommendation was 170 months, consecutive to the revocation of his Kent Municipal Court prior, so the time he spent in jail pending the sentencing was not applied to the vehicular homicide charges.”
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office also said a plea agreement keeps families of the victims from going through a long trial.
“A plea means no appeal and more closure of the criminal proceedings for the victim’s families,” according to an email from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Family members of each victim spoke at the November sentencing hearing. The mother of Tenorio also spoke prior to the judge’s sentencing.