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State v. Eike - 72 Wn.2d 760


Wash. Rev. Code § 46.61.520(1) states that when the death of any person shall ensue within one year as a proximate result of injury received by the driving of any vehicle by any person while under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs or by the operation of any vehicle in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others, the person so operating such vehicle shall be guilty of negligent homicide by means of a motor vehicle.


Patricia Oja, with her mother and aunt, Sally and Suoma Oja, had left home in Ilwaco the morning of Oct. 16, 1965, to go shopping in Longview. The three, with Patricia driving, were returning on Highway No. 401 in a 1964 Chevrolet in the early evening. It was dark, raining, and slightly foggy on the highway when, near the town limits of Naselle, the Oja car, moving in a southerly direction around a broad sweeping curve to the left, was struck head on by the car driven by defendant George H. Eike. In the terrific impact, Sally and Suoma Oja were killed, but Patricia lived to describe the accident in court. Eike received serious injuries and was taken to the hospital. He thought he was on his side of the road and remembered only the head-on collision and virtually nothing of what happened afterwards. Evidence showed that he had crossed the center line of the highway and collided with , colliding with the Oja car. After a jury trial in Washington state court, Eike was convicted of two counts of negligent homicide under Wash. Rev. Code § 46.61.521, and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 20 years' confinement on each count. Eike appealed.


Was Eike's conviction proper?




On review, the state supreme court affirmed the trial court's judgment. In reaching its decision, the court held that the trial court committed no reversible errors with regard to the instructions with which it charged the jury. Furthermore, the court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the trial court's findings as to Eike's guilt.

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