Trucker involved in crash that killed 9-year-old avoids charges

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 8:47 PM

One year after her highly publicized death, there are finally answers for the family of 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith.

The Washington State Patrol has completed a months-long investigation into the death of the Bellevue girl whose selflessness spurred more than $1 million in donations to a global charity.

The KING 5 Investigators obtained the 1,729-page State Patrol investigation through a public records request.  It reveals that detectives place the blame for the fatal crash on the driver of a truck for AP Transport of Blaine.

Detectives forwarded the case to King County prosecutors for review, but they declined to file felony charges.  A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said that because the truck driver was not drinking, using drugs, or driving recklessly, he was not eligible for a felony charge.

The WSP report concludes that the trucker’s inattentive driving is at fault.  He was driving on I-90 at approximately 60 miles per hour and ran into a logging truck and other stopped vehicles at the 405 interchange.

KING 5 is not naming the driver because he was not charged with a crime. This week, WSP sent him a ticket for reckless driving. That could result in a $550 fine.

“Rachel’s family believes that the tragedy that took her life was senseless and preventable,” said Bellevue attorney Max Meyers, who represents Rachel Beckwith’s parents.  “The family looks forward to reviewing the State Patrol’s investigation as part of the continuing effort to understand what happened.”

This week, Rachel’s mother and church pastor are in Ethiopia getting a first-hand look at Rachel’s legacy

The girl earned nationwide attention when it was learned she’d started a donation drive just weeks before she died.  Instead of presents on her ninth birthday, she started a fund to raise money for clean water for children in developing countries.

After her death, more than a million dollars in donations from around the world poured into her fund.  The money is paying for new water wells and clean drinking water systems in countries where dirty water kills thousands of people each day.

The driver of the truck who was ticketed declined to speak to KING 5, citing the advice of his attorney.

A lawyer for AP transport said the crash was “horrible” and the company’s thoughts are with Rachel’s family.  He said he’s been negotiating with lawyers from Rachel’s family.
 

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