Felony charges filed after fatal crash
June 17, 2008 · Updated 4:20 PM
Felony charges were filed the week of Sept. 10 against the driver involved in the fatal crash that claimed the life of Christa Harvey of Orcas Island.
On Sept. 9, prosecutors accused Deane Gates, 27, of one count of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault. He is scheduled to appear next week in Superior Court to answer the charges. The arraignment hearing is Sept. 20.
Prosecutors claim Gates was intoxicated and driving recklessly when he lost control of his car near the intersection of Mount Baker and Terrill Beach roads shortly before 2 a.m. Three passengers were in the car. In the front passenger seat was Christa Harvey, 21, who reportedly was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. She suffered massive injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Vehicular homicide is a Class A felony, which carries maximum penalties of life in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both. Vehicular assault is a Class B felony, carrying maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both. Prosecutors allege Gates is legally responsible for Harveys death and the serious injuries suffered by David Flynn, one of the thee passengers.
The April 4 crash that killed Harvey was the second fatal collision involving a drunk driver on local roads in less than a year. On Sept. 12, 2003, 18-year-old Ryan LoBue of San Juan Island was struck from behind by a car while riding his motorized bicycle on Bailer Hill Road. He died of fatal injuries the following day at Seattles Harborview Medical Center. The driver, Giovanna Drew, 21, was sentenced to 34 months in prison after pleading guilty to felony hit-and-run and vehicular homicide. It was the first time she had been convicted of a crime.
According to court documents, Gates was traveling northbound at about 65 m.p.h. on Terrill Beach Road moments before he lost control on the sweeping left-hand curve where the two roads connect. A witness reportedly saw Gates Toyota knock down a road sign and slam into a series of trees along the passenger side of the vehicle before it came to a stop with its front wheels in a pond on the north side of Mount Baker Road.
Gates, Flynn, and Jesse Velikanje all suffered injuries and were flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after they were removed from the wreckage and treated at the scene. Harvey and the three men were employed at Rosario Resort at the time of the fatal collision. Harvey, a 2001 graduate of Orcas High School, is the daughter of Ron and Sharon Harvey.