A King County judge sentenced a motorist to 3 years and 5 months in prison on Friday for felony hit and run in the death of bicyclist Michael Wang.
That’s the maximum penalty that prosecutors had sought for Erlin Garcia-Reyes, 28.
The Seattle Times reports that Garcia-Reyes apologized for the crime and said through a translator: “I want to tell the family members that I would like them to forgive me for what happened,”
The 28-year-old Normandy Park man was on the lam for nearly a year and was brought to justice in connection with another case.
The collision took the life of Wang, 44, a father of two and photographer for the PATH global health nonprofit based in Seattle. Wang was riding his bicycle north on Dexter Avenue last July when the driver of an SUV struck him while making a left turn onto Thomas Street. Wang’s wife, Claire Allen, said he commuted by bicycle for years.
Witnesses said the driver stopped briefly, then sped away. Police issued a description of the vehicle, but as the months dragged by, it looked like the case had gone cold.
Actually, police collecting leads already had identified Garcia-Reyes as a person of interest in the hit and run. Then in June, he was arrested in connection with a car crash into a service station.
When detectives in the bicycle case learned that Garcia-Reyes was already in custody in another case, they began questioning him about the hit-and-run.
Police charged him with felony hit and run in early June; he pleaded guilty to the charges in July.