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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

May 5, 2010 at 9:45 AM

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UPDATE: Puyallup man enters plea in fatal Federal Way crash

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

UPDATE: Ward pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court on Tuesday and was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

A 52-year-old man who authorities say caused a fatal crash on Interstate 5 in Federal way in October 2008 has been charged with reckless driving.

Garry Ward, of Puyallup, is accused of causing the multiple-car accident that killed Robert Galaviz, 55, of Federal Way, and Georgina Steele, 61, of Seattle, the State Patrol reports.
Troopers said that Ward was driving north in his Chrysler 300 when he crossed a grassy median near the 320th Street exit about 6 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2008, and hit four southbound cars.

The two victims, who were in separate cars, died at the scene. Three other people were treated for serious injuries, according to court charging paperwork.

Ward was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for his injuries. He was initially suspected of vehicular homicide because investigators suspected that he had been drinking before the accidents, charging papers said. A blood test found marijuana, not alcohol, in his system, according to court charging documents.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim, in charging paperwork, said it appears that Ward smoked marijuana about an hour or two before the crash. In 2008, Ward was diagnosed with a medical condition that causes him to lose consciousness or faint, charging papers said.

Ward has no felony convictions.

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