UPDATE Feb. 25, 2019: The Kent Police Department released new information on Saturday’s fatal hit-and-run collision involving a city employee.
The victim in this incident has been identified as Alan Kern, a 73-year old Kent resident. Kern’s relatives have been notified of his death and the city is working with the family during their time of grief.
Kent Police identified the suspect as Nicholas Slater, a 37-year old SeaTac resident. Slater was a temporary employee of the City of Kent Parks department, who was on duty and was driving a City of Kent Vehicle at the time of the collision. He was hired in November of 2018 and was with the city less than four months. Investigators obtained a search warrant to draw a blood sample from Slater and they are awaiting the results of toxicology analysis to determine his exact blood alcohol count and whether there were any other substances in his system that may have impacted his sobriety. Independent of that, both witnesses and investigators observed strong evidence that Slater was significantly impaired at the time of the collision.
“In an effort to ensure full transparency I have asked the Washington State Patrol to conduct a review of our investigation,” Police Chief Rafael Padilla said. “I have full confidence that our investigators conducted a thorough and complete investigation however because this incident involved a city employee, we are taking the additional step of having an independent third-party expert review our work.”
As of Monday morning, Kent Police Traffic Investigators have filed the case with the King County Prosecutor’s Office outlining probable cause for the crime of Vehicular Homicide.
UPDATE Feb. 24, 2019: On Saturday night (Feb. 23), at 6:07 p.m., Kent Police Officers responded to the intersection of 108th Ave SE and SW 204th Street (map below) for a report of a pickup truck striking a pedestrian and leaving the scene.
Sadly, the pedestrian – a 73-year old man – died as a result of his injuries, despite lifesaving efforts at the scene by civilians and the police.
One witness followed the pickup in his own vehicle, and was able to get the driver to stop a few blocks away.
The Ford F-150 pickup believed to have been involved in the incident is owned by the City of Kent. The driver, a 37-year-old man, was a part-time, temporary employee of the City. He was assigned to the Parks Department’s maintenance division and had worked for the City for less than four months.
The driver denied hitting the pedestrian but admitted he had been drinking. A portable-breathalyzer test was administered, and the results indicated his blood-alcohol content was well above the legal limit. After interviewing witnesses and examining the pickup truck, police officers arrested the driver on suspicion of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of a collision. The City will be requesting an outside agency review the investigation of this matter, and the case is being referred to the King County Prosecutor for prosecution.
“The City has long been committed to a substance-free workplace,” the city said in a statement. “Our employees are prohibited from using alcohol on duty or performing any City business while under the influence of alcohol. Having violated our substance-abuse policies, the employee will not be returning to work at the City, no matter the outcome of the criminal case.”
“The driver is in custody and our investigation continues,” police said. “Standard protocol in these investigations will be followed.”
Police add that they will not be releasing the name of the deceased male or the name of the city employee at this time.
“I again express my condolences to the friends and family of the pedestrian who died in this tragic incident,” Mayor Dana Ralph said. “They have my deep sympathy for their loss.”