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Suspect in hit and run that killed 77-year woman in Tacoma had prior hit and run arrest


TACOMA — The 18-year-old suspect from Federal Way who is accused in the hit and run that killed 77-year-old Karin Woodbury has pleaded not guilty to Vehicular Homicide,  Failure to Remain at Accident Resulting in Death and Driving on License Suspended 3rd degree.

Justice Tatum Oates was ordered held on $200,000 bail.  He is accused of running over Woodbury on May 14th at about 9:30 p.m. as she walked to a friend’s home and then leaving the scene without stopping to help her.  She died from her injuries the next day.

77-year-old Karin Woodbury killed in hit and run in Northeast Tacoma

According to court documents, Oates told detectives he had been working long hours on May 14th and fell asleep at the wheel while driving to a friend’s house.  He claimed he woke up after striking some mailboxes on 44th Ave N.E. and did not know that he had hit a pedestrian.   Officers found four smashed mailboxes at the scene and Woodbury lying in the street unconscious and bleeding.  Oates said he learned the next day that he had killed Woodbury when a friend called him and told him.  Detectives asked him what he did at that point.  “The defendant responded, ‘Nothin. I figured you guys would figure it out”.

Oates was arrested on Monday after Tacoma Police received a call from someone telling them they could find the hit and run suspect at his place of employment.  Detectives located his 1995 tan Honda Accord parked in a driveway car port at his mom’s house.

Oates was previously arrested on April 30th after hitting a car from behind on Marine View Dr in the 1700 block and fleeing the scene.  According to documents filed in Tacoma Municipal Court, the victim followed him and called police.  An officer stopped Oates at View Point park at 49 Norpoint Way and says the suspect told him “that he was sorry but he panicked when he hit the car in front of him.  He said he was trying to get his life together”.

Outside the courtroom, Woodbury’s son said he is glad police caught the suspect but it can’t reverse what happened.   “I just want somebody to wake me up from this dream, this nightmare,” said Steve Woodbury.

Steve Woodbury talks to reporters outside courtroom





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