Justice Heckart’s doctor warned him for years not to drive because of his epilepsy.
Heckart disregarded the doctor’s orders, Pierce County prosecutors allege, and on Jan. 7 climbed into his grandmother’s car to grab a cup of coffee three blocks from their Lakewood home.
He ended up in Sumner in a head-on collision that killed a 76-year-old woman and severely injured her 55-year-old daughter.
Heckart, 20, has been charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault in connection with the fatal wreck.
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If convicted as charged, Heckart faces up to 4½ years in prison. He might not serve any jail time if convicted on a lesser charge. He’s to be arraigned June 15.
Witnesses told Sumner police Heckart was trying to pass another car in the 1800 block of East Valley Highway when his car crossed into the southbound lane and hit a car carrying to two women.
When police arrived, Heckart was unconscious and trapped in his car. He likely suffered an epileptic seizure, according to charging papers.
Helen Stolp and her daughter, who was driving, were taken to a hospital. The daughter suffered two broken legs and a fractured left arm. She later had to have one leg amputated at the knee.
Stolp died at the hospital nearly two weeks later.
A family member said Stolp, who suffered from dementia, was being dropped off with her granddaughter for care because Stolp’s daughter had a class. The daughter was studying to become a drug and alcohol counselor.
Although Heckart showed no signs of impairment after the crash, traces of THC, PCP and barbiturates were found in his system, prosecutors said.
Police combed through 476 pages of Heckart’s medical records and discovered his doctor had told him as far back as 2013 that it was unsafe and illegal to drive, records show.
In November 2013, the doctor told Heckart that medical marijuana was “a bad idea” and noted in Heckart’s medical file that he didn’t like that answer. The doctor said she planned to speak with Heckart’s family about it.
She again advised Heckart in 2014 not to drive, smoke marijuana or use other drugs because of his epilepsy, prosecutors said.
“He was clearly told by his doctor because of the seizure situation, you cannot drive,” deputy prosecutor Tim Jones said.