19-year-old charged with vehicular homicide in death of bicyclist in Puyallup

TACOMA -- Nineteen-year-old Kallie Marion James was charged Tuesday with vehicular homicide for allegedly driving through  a stop sign and striking a 66-year-old man as he rode on his bicycle in Puyallup Nov. 24.

James was charged with vehicular assault on Nov. 26 and she posted $250,000 bail. The victim, pastor Eric Renz, died two weeks later. James pleaded not guilty to the amended charge Tuesday afternoon, and she remains out of custody on bail.

Prosecutors said that on Nov. 24,  James ran a stop sign near the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup and struck Renz. When police arrived, James’ eyes appeared “watery and bloodshot,” and she admitted to taking an anti-depressant and smoking marijuana prior to driving, prosecutors said.

A drug recognition expert examined James and determined that she was “impaired and unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.” James’ blood samples were sent to the Washington State Patrol’s Toxicology Lab for analysis. Results are pending.

Witnesses told police that James was speeding and did not attempt to stop at the stop sign prior to striking Renz, who was wearing a bright-yellow coat, prosecutors said.