MOUNT VERNON, Wash.—A Mount Vernon mother is heartbroken after losing her daughter in a car accident and outraged that the driver accused of causing it has now disappeared.
The Washington State Patrol is actively searching for 19-year-old Alfredo Navarro Jr. He had three friends riding in the car with him and now one of their mothers is speaking out.
“I’m mad as hell and I will get justice for my baby. I will,” said Julie Orestad.
Orestad remembers the morning of the accident three weeks ago, when police came knocking on her door.
“There was one stater, another stater, and the coroner,” said Orestad. “I just freaked out.”
Her daughter, Megan Brown, was among the three people who died a head-on collision on Highway 20 May 23.
Nicole Washington, another passenger, also died. Quintonn Baxter, a third passenger, was critically injured. Fred Brand, who was driving the other car, was also killed.
Alfredo Navarro Junior, 19, who troopers say caused the accident and may have been intoxicated, has disappeared.
“He killed three people,” said Orestad. “How can he just get out and think everything’s ok. And if he thinks he’s innocent, why are you running?”
After the accident, Navarro was critically injured and transported to Harborview. The Washington State Patrol was putting together a triple vehicular homicide case against him, and didn’t realize doctors had released him last Friday.
Harborview had no arrangement or obligation to contact detectives.
With a tight knit community like Mount Vernon, the news of his release got to Orestad and she was furious.
“My phone rings, and they’re like ‘Jules, this kid, he’s sitting at home.’ And I said ‘you have got to be kidding me!’”
She and others called police, but by then it was too late.
“Spineless coward,” she called him. “If those were my friends and I killed my friends, I’d probably do myself in. I couldn’t live with that.”
Orestad also can’t live with the fact that her daughter is dead and the young man believed to be at fault is on the loose.
Although they’ve been told Navarro may try to go to Mexico, troopers say they’ve seen no evidence that he got on an airplane.
The Washington State Patrol did not station a guard at the hospital. They didn’t believe he posed a flight risk because of his injuries.