TACOMA, Wash. — A Roy man pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior Court Wednesday to charges he hit and killed a 66-year-old grandmother who was riding her bicycle on the shoulder of State Route 7 near Eatonville last Thursday.
Jeremy Simon, 37, was charged with vehicular homicide, failure to remain at an accident resulting in death, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (heroin). He was ordered held in the Pierce County Jail in lieu of $750,000.
On the morning of Aug. 9, Susan Rainwater, 66, of Eatonville, was riding her bike on the northbound shoulder of SR 7 approaching 320th Street East Rainwater was struck as a vehicle, also traveling northbound, left the roadway and hit the woman from behind, the Washington State Patrol said.
Rainwater’s body was found in a ditch hours later by a passerby who noticed her crumpled bicycle on the side of the road.
The State Patrol tweeted a photograph of a vehicle part found at the scene and it said Reddit.com users identified the part as that of a mid-1980s Chevy truck headlight assembly. On Friday, an anonymous tip was received by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department that included a vehicle license plate number and described front-end damage to the right side headlight assembly of a local pickup truck. Police then went to Simon’s residence on Tuesday.
According to the probable cause documents:
A Washington State Patrol detective asked Simon how he got the noticeable damage to his pickup truck and he said he hit a deer. Told that surveillance video from several businesses showed his truck at the scene of the fatal DUI, Simon confessed to being the driver and said he had worked late the night before and had only four hours sleep when he fell sleep at the wheel last Thursday morning.
“(Defendant stated he fell asleep and heard a noise. He thought he had hit a mailbox. He pulled over and that when he saw the bicycle … he stated he panicked and got scared because did not want to see a dead body” and then drove off.
During a search of the suspect during his arrest, the documents said, a state trooper found a small baggie of suspected heroin and a plastic straw in Simon’s pocket. “The defendant admitted being a heroin user,” the document said.