Shellie Rose Collins, 42, plead guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Lynnwood resident Jerry Robert Bennett, 72, earlier this week in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett. Collins was at the wheel of a vehicle that ran a red light at what prosecutors said was 75 mph at the intersection of 212th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace on May 24, striking a van being driven by Bennett in the driver’s side door. Bennett was pronounced dead hours later at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.
Collins will receive her sentence on July 25; prosecutors are recommending she be sentenced to 18 years, nine months, down from the sentencing range high of 23 years, 11 months. Collins had led police on a high-speed chase that started in the 20000 block of Highway 99 in Lynnwood and ended with the crash in Mountlake Terrace.
Collins was originally charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault for the injuries sustained in the collision by a passenger in the car she was driving, and driving under the influence of crack cocaine. After initial investigations of the case, prosecutors decided to pursue a murder charge against Collins.
“As I reviewed the reports and viewed the video, it became apparent that she was committing a felony, attempting to elude, when she caused Mr. Bennett’s death,” said Tobin Darrow, Snohomish County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. Collins will not face any other charges stemming from the incident beyond second- degree murder; “The murder charge encompasses other potential charges,” Darrow explained.
Second-degree murder is a “three strikes” conviction; although Collins had four other felony convictions on her record, only one, a 2004 vehicular assault conviction from an incident in Clark County, falls into the “three-strikes” category.