Newcastle woman sentenced for Preston crash
February 4, 2011
The driver responsible for a devastating crash near Preston in December 2009 has been sentenced to six months in a work-release facility on a vehicular assault charge stemming from the incident.
Meanwhile, the other driver in the Interstate 90 crash continues a long recovery from life-threatening injuries.
Police said the intoxicated driver, 54-year-old Newcastle resident Janet Bumgardner, had a cocktail of drugs — oxycodone, morphine, a prescription sleeping aid and over-the-counter allergy medication — in her system at the time of the crash. Washington State Patrol investigators also discovered red wine in a travel mug inside her silver Acura.
King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie handed down the sentence Jan. 7. Bumgardner, who pleaded guilty to vehicular assault in late November, has a long history of drunken driving convictions, plus convictions for disorderly conduct, malicious mischief and telephone harassment, court documents state.
The state Department of Corrections said she is scheduled to serve the sentence at the Helen B. Ratcliff Work Release house in Seattle. Bumgardner must also pay $2,612 in court costs and fees. The sentence prohibits her from contacting the other driver for 10 years and requires her to be under community custody for a year after the work-release term ends.
Investigators said she had been traveling eastbound along the interstate. The vehicle then crossed the center median — a steep hill — between the eastbound and westbound lanes just west of the Preston exit at about 12:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 2009.
In the westbound lane, Bumgardner traveled in the opposite direction, swerved right to avoid a tractor-trailer and rammed a Honda instead.
The driver behind the wheel of the Honda — Rachel McNaul, then 24 — suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple broken bones in the crash.
Medics rushed McNaul and Bumgardner to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. Investigators drew Bumgardner’s blood at Harborview in the hours after the incident.
In addition, her dog had been in the car, too, and had to be euthanized due to injuries sustained in the crash.
McNaul underwent multiple surgeries and spent almost three months in the hospital.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239.