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Driver of powerboat charged with DUI homicide, assault for Lake Washington crash

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boatcrashSEATTLE — 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.







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  • Daniel

    Maybe if he had not been wearing sunglasses at night, he might have seen the sitting duck sailboat.

    Did his friends not see the sailboat either? They are all accomplices to this negligence and irresponsible action. What are the odds that two boats would collide in the middle of a humongous lake at night when no one else is around?

    RIP to the innocent teacher whose life was tragically taken from her. Hicks needs to be put away for good.

  • Chelsea

    Lets Remember that the SAILBOAT SHE WAS IN EVERYONE INCLUDING THE DRIVER WAS DRUNK AS WELL…… WHO SITS OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF PUBLIC WATER WITH NO LIGHTS ON THEIR SAILBOAT smh Tragic situation unfortunate for both sides. The Sailboat driver should be charged as well.

  • Lali

    I know this guy….he is a POS!!!!!!! We all make mistakes but he takes it to a new level. He wants people to write letters on behalf because once upon a time he was a Husky Football player. He makes UW Alumni look bad!! Thanks loser for setting us as a people back!! Rot in jail ass wipe

  • Raymond K

    I’ve known Richard since freshman year at UW. He’s a good man from a good family. This is a tragic accident. I think people are drawing conclusions without all the facts. I pray for all involved and their families.