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Cash pleads not guilty in fatal crash

A Belfair woman suspected of driving while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs before crashing into and killing a Silverdale woman on State Route 166 earlier this month was charged Tuesday in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Tera Lawanna Cash, 29, pleaded not guilty to one count of vehicular homicide, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Cash, who suffered skull fractures in the Jan. 6 accident and had only been released from Harrison Memorial Hospital Monday afternoon, was allowed to sit rather than stand before Judge Jay B. Roof for her arraignment.

On the recommendation of Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Casad, who described Cash as a flight risk since she had no verifiable address and had recently been fired, Roof doubled the defendant’s bail to $100,000.

Cash was arrested Jan. 14 at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma by Washington State Patrol troopers and booked into Kitsap County Jail. However, before she could be arraigned, she was transported to Harrison Memorial Hospital for further care. According to court documents, she remained in Harrison under the supervision of a jail guard until Monday afternoon.

According to the WSP, the crash occurred at approximately 9:35 p.m., when Cash’s eastbound 2005 Toyota Tacoma pickup crossed the center line of SR-166 between Port Orchard and Gorst, crashing nearly head-on into Nicole Daniels, who was westbound in a 1995 Toyota 4Runner.

Daniels, 27, died at the scene, while her passenger, 19-year-old Phillip Cobb of Kansas, suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

Cash was transported to Tacoma from the scene.

According to court documents, a trooper investigating the scene described Cash as reeking of alcohol, and later discovered a marijuana cigarette and rolling papers in her car.

While in the hospital, Cash said she did not remember the accident, but admitted to drinking one Long Island Iced Tea before driving.

Test results released last week revealed her blood-alcohol level was .18, more than twice the legal limit.

According to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office, vehicular homicide charges can be brought against a driver when he or she commits one, or all three, of these acts before causing an accident that takes the life of another: driving while impaired, in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others.

Casad said the standard range for one count of vehicular homicide, with no prior felonies or serious infractions, is between three and four years in prison.

At Cash’s arraignment, Casad said she had a prior felony conviction in Georgia and was currently wanted there on four counts of forgery.

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