Driver pleads not guilty in crash that killed pregnant Tacoma woman

Staff writerMarch 5, 2014 

A man accused of crashing into a taxi van and killing a pregnant Tacoma woman had needles in his pocket and could barely stay awake while being questioned by troopers, according to court documents.

Anderson Hamilton, 48, of Bonney Lake, was charged Wednesday with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault for Tuesday’s wreck that killed Shanna Huttenstine, 34, and injured two others in the taxi.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

If convicted, deputy prosecutor Tim Jones said Hamilton could face up to 11 years in prison.

The accident happened on state Route 167 at 44th Street near Puyallup as Huttenstine and her fiance, Jason Speers, took a taxi from Good Samaritan Hospital to their Tacoma home.

Troopers said everybody in the taxi was wearing a seat belt.

Charging papers give this account:

Hamilton was traveling north on state Route 167 when his Dodge Ram pickup truck crossed into oncoming traffic and struck the left side of the taxi. Huttenstine was in the back seat behind the taxi driver, Said Ali.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. Ali was taken to the hospital with significant injuries, including multiple fractures. Speers was also hospitalized for a few hours for bruised ribs and several lacerations.

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy was the first to respond to the crash and allegedly found needles in Hamilton’s pockets. Hamilton denied they were his.

Troopers observed Hamilton showed signs of impairment including bloodshot eyes, slow speech and lethargic behavior.

Hamilton told troopers he remembered hitting another vehicle and agreed to take a sobriety test.

“An attempt was made at administering the tests, but (Hamilton) continued to close his eyes and lower his head continuously,” court records show.

After he was arrested, Hamilton initially cooperated but then refused to cooperate with sobriety tests. Detectives obtained a warrant for a blood draw and found Hamilton sleeping on the ground when they returned.

Test results are pending. Troopers said they found a container of marijuana in Hamilton’s truck.

Jones said Hamilton recently moved to the area from Mississippi and that his prior offenses include drug possession.

Speers called Huttenstine his “true love” and said Tuesday was the hardest day of his life, losing her and their unborn child.

In a Facebook post, he wrote, “I’ve never been at such a loss before and can’t believe that my true love is gone just like that.”

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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