The car was stolen and the man behind the wheel was desperate.
A felon, he knew he had a warrant out and didn’t want to be pulled over by the officer tailing him through Fife on Thursday, according to Pierce County prosecutors.
So he allegedly gunned it through city streets for more than a mile and ran a red light on Pacific Highway East, crashing at high-speed into a Nissan Maxima that had just turned onto the street from Alexander Avenue.
Authorities believe Janice Porcher, 53, died instantly.
The other car was traveling about 65 miles per hour when it hit the Nissan, pushing it into two other vehicles.
The felon didn’t stop to help, prosecutors said, and instead, took off running and was caught by police after a short chase.
On Friday, 43-year-old Michel Beal was in court.
Prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder, vehicular homicide, failure to remain at an accident resulting in death, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and escape from community custody. Bail was set at $1.5 million.
As Beal was treated for minor injuries Thursday at the scene of the crash, he allegedly told paramedics he fled because of a state Department of Corrections warrant.
He skipped out on a parole visit June 12 related to a drug and property crime in Snohomish County, court records show.
Police are investigating how he came to have the stolen Chrysler sedan, which was taken from Auburn.
More charges might be filed later.
Staff writer Kenny Ocker contributed to this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653