Suspected organizer of illegal street race indicted in fatal accident in Auburn

A 25-year-old man from Kent accused of organizing illegal street races and drifting events was charged on Tuesday with being an accomplice in homicide and driving in connection with the deaths of two women who were beaten during the an event in Auburn last year.

Jerick Judd was arrested Tuesday morning and held at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, prison records show. King County prosecutors said Judd would be the first person charged in King County with two counts of homicide and driving for organizing events and posting event locations on Instagram, including the event of the 27th. November which resulted in the deaths of two women days later who were struck by a driver who lost control of his friend’s silver Chevrolet Camaro.

Judd is being held in lieu of $ 100,000 bail and prosecutors have asked that he be banned from using social media if released from jail, court records show. The charges against him indicate that he has been cited, arrested or warned by police on several occasions since June 2020 about his participation in illegal races.

“Even now, Judd isn’t put off by the deaths. Judd continues to engage in the apparently illegal promotion and organization of street racing, ”Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff wrote in the charges, adding that Judd had recently shared a flyer on social media for an event in Kent September 24.

Court records do not yet indicate which lawyer represents Judd.

The charges, citing state accomplice liability law, allege that Judd “solicited, ordered, abetted or demanded” that another person drive a vehicle recklessly, and that the reckless operation of a vehicle was an immediate cause of the fatal injuries sustained by Kelly. Acosta, 23, and Makenna Heustis, 19.

After the November event in Auburn, Camaro driver Rondale Hendricks was charged in December with two counts of driving homicide after Acosta and Heustis died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Hendricks, 20, a soldier assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was also charged with making a false or misleading statement to an official, accused of initially telling Auburn police that the owner of the Camaro was driving at the time of the collision before turning around. in, say the charge papers.

Hendricks was briefly jailed before being released on personal recognizance and he pleaded not guilty to the charges when arraigned last year, court records show. His trial is due to start on December 7. An email sent to his defense attorney seeking comment on the case was not immediately answered.

Auburn Police investigated the Hendricks case while the Washington State Patrol, with assistance from Auburn and Kent Police, conducted the investigation against Judd, according to records from the court and a press release issued Tuesday by the prosecutor’s office.

It was raining and the pavement wet when a group of drivers and spectators gathered in a large loading dock area between two warehouses in the 3700 block of I Street Northwest in Auburn around 10 p.m. on November 27, according to the charges. brought against Hendricks. .

Driving the Camaro, Hendricks “was intentionally accelerating in a circle, causing traction failure and rear tire slippage” when he lost control and collided with three women standing or walking in front of the car, according to the charges. Two women were seriously injured and later died, but the third did not require medical attention.

In the case against Judd, a state soldier wrote that “drifting,” also known as “rocking,” is “a dangerous activity in which the driver of a vehicle intentionally accelerates his vehicle and oversees his vehicle. in tight turns or circles, causing the rear of the vehicle to lose traction and roll over.

Usually organized on social media, organizers will distribute a list of many locations, with attendees moving from location to location in an attempt to thwart police, according to the charges. Many street racing or drifting events repeatedly use the same locations.

After the deaths of Acosta and Heustis, the State Patrol began investigating the increase in takeover events in general, and the November 27 event in Auburn in particular, according to the charges.

From searches for direct messages on Instagram, investigators connected Judd to two accounts which were used to send a list of locations and a flyer announcing the November 27 event, according to load logs. Two email addresses and a cell phone registered to the Instagram account belong to Judd, according to the charges, who note that he twice used the same phone number to call 911 and identified himself as the caller .

In the hours leading up to the Auburn event, investigators discovered that Hendricks and Judd had exchanged direct messages and Judd sent Hendricks a list of locations, including the location of the fatal collision, according to the charges.

In early December, Judd’s Instagram account was used to promote another illegal street event. When someone texted him, asking him why he was going ahead with the event after saying he was going to lay low after one of the victims died, Judd replied that the event had already been planned and he didn’t want to cancel it at the last minute, according to the charges. He wrote that he would not be driving his own car.

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