June 18, 2001
Authorities investigate crash, shoplifting in Woodinville
by Jeanette Knutson
The Washington State Patrol continues to investigate the one-car collision that occurred Saturday, June 9, in the 24000 block of 75th Avenue Southeast, just north of the King-Snohomish county line.
According to Washington State Patrol Lt. Tim Braniff, the crash occured when the car driven by Anita Durrett, 41, of North Bend, crossed the centerline and struck a tree on the opposite side of the road. Durrett's 9-year-old daughter Ladawna, a passenger in the car, was killed in the accident. Wearing a seatbelt, she was partially ejected from the car and died at the scene.
Anita Durrett was transported from the accident scene to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she remains in serious condition with head and chest injuries.
It will be up to Snohomish County prosecutors to decide if Durrett will face criminal charges as a result of her daughter's death, said Braniff.
Such a decision may not come for a long time since the focus now is on the investigation surrounding the collision. Witness statements have to be gathered and detectives cannot speak with the victim until her condition improves.
Durrett, it is alleged, was fleeing a shoplifting incident at the Woodinville Albertson's grocery store just minutes before the crash.
Apparently she left the store with a cart containing two unpaid for Styrofoam coolers which held some $266 worth of groceries. When a store employee confronted Durrett in the parking lot asking to see the receipt for her purchase, she pretended to be looking for it in her purse.
All of a sudden Durrett jumped in her car and drove off, leaving one of the coolers in the parking lot and having the other fall out of the opened back car door as she drove away.
Two store employees were told by their supervisor to follow Durrett's car, said King County Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart.
They pursued the suspect as she turned north on 156th Avenue Northeast off of the Woodinville-Duvall Road. Durrett continued onto 75th Avenue Northeast and apparently passed one vehicle then lost control at the 240th Street intersection.
Road conditions were wet and witnesses reported Durrett was speeding.
Whether she knew she was being pursued or was merely fleeing after the parking lot confrontation will be addressed in the State Patrol investigation. The Albertson's employees reported not seeing the accident.
The two clerks who tailed Durrett, along with the store supervisor on duty at the time of the incident, were placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.