Man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide in crash that killed University Place man

Pierce County prosecutors have charged a man with vehicular homicide in connection with a rollover crash that killed a University Place man Sunday night.

Matthew Hester, 25, pleaded not guilty Tuesday and was ordered held on $75,000 bail.

Troopers said Hester was drunk when he lost control of a 1990 Toyota pickup truck as he rounded a curve on northbound state Route 7 at Pilgrim Road, about a mile north of Alder.

Paul Caffarel, 48, was not wearing a seat belt and was partially ejected from the passenger seat. He became trapped between the truck and the guardrail, according to charging papers. Caffarel died at the scene.

The State Patrol said Hester showed signs of intoxication at the scene.

When he was interviewed at the hospital, Hester said he and Caffarel had been drinking all day and had just shared a few beers at a Tacoma tavern, troopers said. Caffarel asked Hester to drive, court records show.

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