A 22-year-old Renton man has been charged with vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment Wednesday in connection to a multiple-car crash on Interstate 5 last year that killed a Sumner truck driver.
Prosecutors said Dec. 13 that Stephen J. Palmer was impaired by alcohol and marijuana when he lost control of his Nissan Altima in November 2012 near Federal Way and crashed into a guardrail.
After Palmer and his three passengers exited the vehicle, a second car crashed into Palmer’s car and came to a stop on the shoulder.
Police said moments later, the driver of a tanker truck, 68-year-old Joseph Bartkowski, came upon the crash scene and swerved to avoid Palmer’s car in the road.
The tanker truck, carrying aviation fuel, hit a barrier wall and burst into flames, killing Bartkowski.
Palmer was initially held pending charges, but was released when prosecutors needed more than the 72-hour hold to make a charging decision, King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe said.
Palmer is not in custody, but will be required to appear for his Dec. 26 arraignment, Donohoe said.
Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.