Tacoma woman, 18, faces vehicular assault charge after Kent crash

Reportedly had been drinking; female passenger, 18, in her vehicle suffers injuries

An 18-year-old Tacoma woman faces vehicular assault, reckless driving and minor driving after consuming alcohol charges after she reportedly crashed a vehicle in Kent that injured her 18-year-old female passenger.

King County prosecutors charged Avionna Nicole Caldwell on June 20 for the June 18 incident, according to King County Superior Court documents. Caldwell is scheduled to be arraigned on July 3 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Kent Police booked Caldwell June 18 into the King County jail. She was released June 19, according to jail records.

At about 2:30 a.m. June 18, a Kent Police officer saw a driver run a red light while eastbound on East James Street near Central Avenue North, according to charging papers.

The officer pulled behind the vehicle and activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop a 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, but the driver kept going. He chirped his police siren in attempt to gain the driver’s attention and get them to pull over, but the SUV continued to not yield as East James Street becomes South 240th Street, according to court documents.

As the driver crossed the intersection of South 240th Street and 98th Avenue South, a 2014 BMW 320 drove through a stop sign on 98th Avenue South and collided with the passenger side of the Traverse at an estimated speed of 40 mph in a posted 25 mph zone. The eastbound Traverse did not have any traffic control, so it had the right of way at the intersection, which is near East Hill Elementary School.

The BMW stopped in the middle of South 240th Street with significant front end damage. The Traverse was pushed to the north side of the roadway, where it crashed into a fence and tree just past the intersection.

Caldwell admitted to the officer she was the driver of the BMW. She also reportedly told the officer she had gone out to dinner and then went to a friend’s house where she had two shots of alcohol about two hours apart, according to charging papers.’

Caldwell agreed to voluntary field sobriety tests. An officer said she noticed several signs of possible impairment, as Caldwell reportedly lost her balance doing heel to toe steps and did the wrong number of steps. Caldwell also agreed to a preliminary breath sample, which reportedly showed she had been drinking. She was placed under arrest for a DUI under the age of 21.

An officer checked at Valley Medical Center in Renton on Caldwell’s passenger, who suffered a broken collarbone and blunt force trauma to her abdomen, according to court documents. Based on the injuries, officers booked Caldwell for vehicular assault. Nobody else was injured in the crash.

Caldwell played volleyball at Decatur High School in Federal Way and had committed to play in the fall at Centralia College, according to the Centralia College volleyball Facebook page.

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