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Army reservist abandons dying fellow soldier after crash, says he 'did not care'

Jefferson Taylor, a 21-year-old Army reservist stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, ran from the scene of a deadly crash that took the life of a fellow soldier outside of Lakewood, Wash.

SCREENSHOT VIA KOMO

By STACIA GLENN | The News Tribune (Tribune News Service) | Published: May 19, 2017

A driver who crashed into a Lakewood, Wash., power pole, killing his passenger Wednesday, said he doesn’t care about the man he left bleeding when he ran from the scene, records show.

While two officers were applying tourniquets to Hernan Barragan’s arm and leg in an effort to save his life, Jefferson Taylor was trying to push his way into a nearby apartment to hide from police.

Taylor, a 21-year-old Army reservist stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, struggled with officers and threatened to kill them as he was taken to the hospital, police said.

Barragan died at the scene of the crash, 40 minutes after the wreck.

Pierce County prosecutors on Thursday charged Taylor with vehicular homicide, two counts of third-degree assault, failure to remain at a fatal collision and obstructing a law enforcement officer in connection with Barragan’s death.

Barragan, 32, was also an active-duty member of the Army Reserve. He was from Hollister, California, and stationed at JBLM.

It’s unclear where the two men were coming from when Taylor crashed his pickup truck.

Charging papers give this account:

Taylor was driving more than 80 mph in a 25 mph speed zone when he lost control shortly after midnight on 108th Street Southwest at Douglas Drive Southwest.

The truck hit a power pole and kept going another 500 feet, shearing off two streets signs before stopping in the road.

Witnesses said Taylor took off running right after the crash.

Barragan was still wearing a seat belt in the passenger seat when police arrived. Officers tried to revive him and firefighters managed to extricate him from the crumpled vehicle, but Barragan died.

Police used a search dog to track Taylor to a nearby apartment complex, where officers could hear yelling.

They found Taylor lying on the ground outside an apartment door covered with bloody handprints. Taylor was bleeding profusely from a head wound.

Although Taylor claimed the man who lived in the unit shot him, officers determined that Taylor woke the man up by pounding on the door and tried to push his way inside when he heard police approaching the area.

Taylor struggled with police as he was taken into custody, kicking one officer in the chest. He kicked the doors and windows of the patrol car and repeatedly spit blood and threatened to kill officers.

“When told that Mr. Barragan was dead, the defendant responded with expletives, stating he did not care about him,” according to charging papers. “The defendant then launched back into his verbal attacks on the officers.”

Medical staff had to sedate Taylor so they could treat his head wound.

©2017 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
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