Court report

A 24-year-old Sedro-Woolley man pleaded guilty Wednesday for his involvement in a 2018 crash that left a man dead.

Kevin Michael Solarzano-Hill entered an Alford plea to the charge of vehicular assault-under the influence for the June 2018 crash that killed 45-year-old Jonathan James Harju.

An Alford plea is when a defendant does not admit guilt, but believes there is enough evidence the prosecution could present at trial, or in Solarzano-Hill’s case a second trial, that would result in a conviction.

In July, Skagit County Superior Court Judge Laura Riquelme declared a mistrial in a weeklong trial for Solarzano-Hill — in which he was being tried for vehicular homicide — after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

While prosecutors had the option to try him again, Solarzano-Hill instead chose to take the plea deal, saying that while he did not think he was the “proximate cause” of Harju’s death, for the sake of himself and his family he wanted to bring the case to a close.

Solarzano-Hill and Harju were relatives.

Solarzano-Hill is set to be sentenced Nov. 29, at which time Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich will ask that he serve nine months — the maximum time allowed — in jail.

The offense is also a strike offense. Under state law, those convicted of three such offenses are required to be sentenced to life in prison.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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