Woman charged with vehicular homicide in fatal Federal Way crash

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Michelle Dittamore, 31, accused of driving under the influence, was charged with vehicular homicide Wednesday for a three-vehicle accident in Federal Way last week that killed one driver and injured another while her 4-year-old son was in the car.

If convicted, Dittamore could face seven to eight and a half years in prison.

King County prosecutors asked that bail be set at $250,000.

On June 7, police said, the car Dittamore was driving on northbound Pacific Highway South in Federal Way crossed over the center line and collided head-on with Jana Lynne Berry, 48, who was driving a Honda Civic.  The Civic went airborne and crashed into a third car before landing sideways.

Berry was killed immediately, prosecutors said. The man driving the third vehicle suffered only minor injuries. Dittamore and her 4-year-old son were transported to Harborview Medical Center for minor injuries, then Dittamore was booked into jail.

"She showed several signs of being impaired from drugs," the King County prosecutors' charging documents said. Officers reported her "speech was slowed, thick-tongued, and slurred." 

Prosecutors said Dittamore told a police officer at the accident scene that she had consumed "one tumbler of pink champagne" and taken the prescription drug Klonopin, which can causes drowsiness, about two and half hours before the accident.

The prosecutor's office said a toxicology report has not been completed yet.

The accident is the first one to fall under a new state law that recently went into effect. That law imposes harsher penalties against anyone driving under the influence with a child in the car.

"It is never a good day to be an impaired driver,” King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg said. "But last Wednesday (June 6), two new laws went into effect that make this tragic and preventable crime a much more serious offense in our state. 

"Vehicular homicide is now on par with first-degree manslaughter,” he added, "and driving impaired with a child in your car will earn an additional year sentence for the impaired driver who kills.”

Dittamore's arraignment is scheduled for June 25.

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