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JBLM soldier is charged in 'drifting' incident that left two women dead at car meetup

By ABBIE SHULL | The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) | Published: December 22, 2020

TACOMA, Wash. (Tribune News Service) — A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier is facing multiple charges, including vehicular homicide, after his vehicle hit and killed two women at a car meetup, according to the King County Prosecutor's office.

On Nov. 27, Pfc. Rondale Hendricks, 19, attended the meetup around midnight in north Auburn near state Route 167, according to the Auburn Police Department.

The vehicle Hendricks was driving was "drifting" when it hit three women on foot, according to Auburn police. "Drifting" is a technique where the driver of the car intentionally oversteers, with a loss of traction, while theoretically maintaining control of the vehicle through a complete turn.

One of the victims was taken to a hospital in Auburn with minor injuries, while two others, Makenna Heustis, 21, and Kelly Acosta, 23, were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with life-threatening injuries. Heustis and Acosta later died.

Hendricks was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and making a false statement to police. On Dec. 14, he pleaded not guilty. Hendricks, who is out on bail, will appear in court again on Jan. 21 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Car meetups are held by car enthusiasts to show off their vehicles and often draw large crowds. Cmdr. Mike Hirman, public information officer with the Auburn Police Department, said this particular meetup involved just a handful of cars.

Hendricks, a native of Chicago, is assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center. There is an ongoing investigation with Army Criminal Investigative Demand, according to I Corps public affairs.

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