Crime

Teenager sentenced for hit-and-run that killed 77-year-old pedestrian in Tacoma

A teenager accused of a hit-and-run that killed a 77-year-old woman in Tacoma has been sentenced.

Justice Tatum Oates, 19, pleaded guilty earlier this month to vehicular homicide and failing to remain at the accident that resulted in the death of Karin Woodbury.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson sentenced him to four years, three months Wednesday.

Charging papers gave this account:

Woodbury was found unconscious about 9:30 p.m. May 14 in the 3000 block of 44th Avenue Northeast. She died from her injuries the next day at St. Joseph Medical Center.

Police identified Oates as a suspect and spoke with him.

He said he’d been working long hours prior to the wreck, was tired and fell asleep at the wheel.

He didn’t know he hit a pedestrian, he said, until a friend called him a couple hours later and said he’d hit a woman.

Woodbury’s loved ones said she was a great grandmother of five and that she’d been active, according to News Tribune archives.

She had power-washed her roof and topped a tree on her property with a chainsaw several days before she was hit, they said.

Woodbury was a longtime employee of Federal Way Public Schools.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.
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