Mistrial declared for Spokane man accused of vehicular homicide during I-90 crash last year

<p><p>A Spokane County jury could not reach a verdict for a 41-year-old Spokane man reportedly responsible for his passenger’s death during a road rage incident last year on Interstate 90.</p></p><p><p>A new trial will start March 14.</p></p><p><p>Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno declared a mistrial for the vehicular homicide case against Casey L. Walker after the presiding juror told Moreno Thursday afternoon the jury would not likely reach an agreement in a “reasonable time.”</p></p><p><p>The jury started deliberations Wednesday afternoon.</p></p><p><p>An alternate juror replaced a juror Wednesday after Moreno learned Walker allegedly communicated with the juror that day in a courthouse elevator.</p></p><p><p>Walker was reportedly driving a 1968 Jeepster Commando around 1 p.m. Oct. 30, 2020, west on Interstate 90 just east of Spokane, according to court documents. Walker was reportedly swerving in his lane when he pulled alongside a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck, driven by Shane Gustin, in the left lane.</p></p><p><p>Court documents said Walker started yelling at Gustin and was swerving toward his vehicle. Walker eventually encroached into the left lane, next to the Dodge, by about a tire width before accelerating ahead, the documents said.</p></p><p><p>As Walker accelerated, he allegedly came upon a vehicle in front of him and with no warning “recklessly jerked left,” cutting the Dodge off. When Walker jerked the wheel to the left, he reportedly clipped the right front of the Dodge with his left rear, forcing his Jeepster to rotate counterclockwise. The Jeepster shot into and rode up on top of the median barrier, the documents said.</p></p><p><p>It slid along the top of the barrier for a short distance where it tripped on an adjoining seam and violently rolled over, the documents stated. When the Jeepster rolled, Walker was thrown from the vehicle and came to rest in the center lane of westbound I-90 and sustained critical injuries.</p></p><p><p>The documents said Walker’s passenger, Lynn K. Chapman, was also thrown from the vehicle and was pinned under the Jeepster when it rolled onto its top. The Jeepster immediately caught fire with Chapman trapped underneath. The fire reportedly burned the Jeepster and Chapman, trapped underneath, was also burned and died at the scene.</p></p><p><p>Walker reportedly told a Washington State Patrol sergeant that he and Chapman had gone to Carpenters Union Hall on Sullivan Road and cashed out an annuity just prior to the collision. Walker told the sergeant he was planning on using the money to leave Washington, the documents said.</p></p><p><p>They said Walker’s girlfriend and daughter had purchased a couple of acres in Hawaii and he wanted to get there as quickly as he could.</p></p><p><p>Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy said Wednesday during closing arguments that Walker was driving aggressively, not paying attention and speeding just before the crash.</p></p><p><p>“That is reckless driving, heedless disregard for others,” Nagy said.</p></p><p><p>Walker’s attorney, Erek Puccio, said Wednesday in closing arguments that heavy traffic, ruts on the freeway and wind need to be considered the day of the crash.</p></p><p><p>“It was so windy, (authorities) weren’t able to fly the drone that day to take measurements,” Puccio said.</p></p><p><p>Walker also faces first-degree robbery and second-degree assault charges after a September 2020 incident in which he is accused of choking a woman, who was leasing a residence from him, and robbing her, according to court documents.</p></p><p><p>A trial for those charges is scheduled for Jan. 3.</p></p>