Driver held on $10,000 bail in fatal Tacoma crash

A man who hit and killed a pedestrian after careening off Interstate 5 is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Kevin Lee Cochran, 50, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of vehicular homicide in the Nov. 26 crash that killed 42-year-old Peter Tuaau.

After setting Cochran’s bail, Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him not to drive if he took any prescription medication.

Drugs appear to have played a role in the fatal crash.

At the time of the wreck, records show, Cochran had marijuana in his system, as well as a drug used to treat depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In addition, investigators believe the worn rear brake pads on Cochran’s Cadillac Escalade played a role in the crash. Mechanics said the problem would have been obvious long before the brakes went out.

Tuaau was standing near a traffic light pole when Cochran, honking and swerving, left northbound I-5 and hit the pole in the 2800 block of East Portland Avenue.

Investigators estimate he was going about 43 miles per hour, and though Cochran braked seconds before the collision, his vehicle slowed only 5 mph.

It was some time before police found Tuaau, lying with two broken legs on a hillside near a concrete barrier, and determined he’d been hit by the Escalade.

He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Cochran told police he saw someone standing near the pole before his SUV crashed into it but thought the man ran away, according to charging papers.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653