A Tacoma man was killed Saturday and a suspect was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run and driving under the influence after he was found “hiding in the woods,” Washington State Patrol trooper Guy Gill said Sunday.
Multiple agencies responded to the fiery crash near Spanaway, including a K-9 unit in search of the fleeing driver, whom authorities first believed to be a victim.
According to a State Patrol press release:
Todd Morose, 50, of Tacoma was driving north on state Route 507 near 208th Street East about 6:40 p.m. with three passengers in a 1991 Toyota 4Runner when an oncoming 2002 Ford F350 pickup crossed the center line and hit the 4Runner head-on.
The pickup rolled several times and came to a rest off the roadway before catching fire. Both vehicles were totaled. The pickup “burned to the ground,” Gill said.
Morose was killed. His passengers, a 50-year-old woman and two children, ages 12 and 13, were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
The pickup driver, a 31-year-old Roy man, was not immediately found when authorities arrived, Gill said.
Firefighters and emergency personnel helped with the response to the crash and search for the missing driver.
“When you have a fatality and a rollover like that, you are thinking the driver has likely been ejected,” Gill said. “We were concerned for a citizen’s safety.”
But instead, Gill said, after several hours the Roy man was found relatively unharmed in the woods nearby.
He was taken to the hospital and cleared of injuries before being booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, DUI, obstruction and hit-and-run charges.
“I’m glad we found him,” Gill said. “We have a loss of life here, and that’s something you can’t do.”