Driver of powerboat charged with DUI homicide, assault for Lake Washington crash
SEATTLE — Homicide and assault charges were filed Monday against a 46-year-old Renton man for allegedly crashing a powerboat while under the influence into a sailboat on Lake Washington last Wednesday night, killing a 33-year-old Seattle teacher on the sailboat and injuring two others.
Bail for the defendant, Richard A. Hicks, was set at $250,000.
He was charged with homicide by watercraft and assault by watercraft.
At about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the 25-foot powerboat apparently was moving from Chandler’s Crabhouse toward Leschi and it started speeding. The pilot of the boat was traveling an estimated 45 mph and “did not see or hear the yelling from the sailboat that was trying to reach Leshi (sic) with a small motor, until he was too close to be able to avoid a collision,” the prosecutor’s statement said.
The sailboat had seven people on board. Seattle teacher Melissa Protz, 33, was killed. The sailboat operator and a passenger suffered serious injuries.
On the shore, the defendant “was asked to remove his sunglasses which revealed bloodshot, watery eyes. He had slurred speech and smelled strongly of alcohol,” the prosecutor said. “He denied consuming alcohol and then refused the Field Sobriety Tests. A warrant was approved by the Court and blood was drawn. The results are pending further evaluation. Two of the persons on his boat admitted to officers that he had had alcohol that day and evening.”
The prosecutor’s statement said Hicks is a repeat DUI offender — 1990 DUI amended to negligent driving; 1991 DUI given a deferred sentence, completed conditions, and it was dismissed; 2002, DUI amended to reckless driving; 2011 speeding with two open containers was deferred, dismissed.