Families forgive suspect involved in fatal Renton area crash

After a high-speed collision killed four near Renton, affected families call on local government and community members to make the roads more safe.

Chase Daniel Jones, 18, has been charged with four counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault and one count of reckless driving after running through a red light at 112 mph and causing a mass-casualty collision near Renton.

At 12:42 p.m. March 19 at the intersection of Southeast 192nd Street and 140th Avenue Southeast in the Cascade-Fairwood area of unincorporated King County, Jones was driving southbound in a blue Audi A4 when he collided with a beige Toyota Sienna driven by Andrea Hudson, 38, who was heading eastbound on 192nd Street through the green light at the intersection.

Charging documents report that Jones’ car T-boned the minivan, which also held five passengers: Matilda Wilcoxson, 13; Eloise Wilcoxson, 12; Boyd “Buster” Brown, 12; and Hudson’s children, Nolan, 14, and Charlotte, 12.

Andrea Hudson, Matilda, Eloise and Buster were pronounced dead at the scene of the collision, while Nolan and Charlotte were transported to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Jones was transported to Harborview.

The following day, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office listed “multiple blunt force injuries” as the manner of death for Hudson, Matilda, Eloise and Buster.

According to the police report, the force of the impact from Jones’ car caused Hudson’s minivan to collide with two more vehicles, where one other driver received non-life threatening injuries.

Described as an “incredibly violent collision,” the force of the impact caused the minivan to roll and come to a rest 125 feet south of the intersection.

“The impact was so severe it caused approximately three feet of intrusion into the passenger compartment and the fire department had to cut off the roof to extract the occupants,” said King County Sheriff’s Office Detective Justin Langhofer in the report.

Jones’ Audi ended up 126 feet past the point of impact, coming to rest on a retaining wall and chain-link fence on the east side of the road. According to police, the vehicle had caught fire after the collision, but was extinguished by a witness.

Police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, including the event data recorder (EDR), which corroborated witness accounts that Jones was traveling over 100 mph “prior to the collision and immediately prior to running the red light was at or near full throttle.”

“[He] did not make any attempts to slow down as he approached the intersection,” said Det. Langhofer, who reported that Jones was involved in two prior vehicle collisions within the last year, where his speeding had been a factor in both incidents.

Jones’ bail has been set at $1 million and his arraignment is scheduled for April 4.

“Four bright lights are missing from the world”

In the days following the collision, three GoFundMe pages were created for the Hudson as well as the Wilcoxson and Brown families to help pay for funeral service and to help pay for Nolan and Charlotte’s medical care.

On March 22, the three families held a press conference at the ever-growing roadside memorial on 140th Avenue Southeast.

The families were all close friends and members of a “homeschooling co-op” prior to the collision. They came together to talk about their loved ones.

“There are no words to express the grief, the pain that we feel,” said Chase Wilcoxson, father of Matilda and Eloise. “Four bright lights are missing from the world and it feels cold and dark. The wounds that we feel will eventually heal and the scars will remain for the rest of our lives.”

Their mother, Rivka Wilcoxson, talked about the girls’ hobbies and their love for one another.

“Matilda was an avid plant enthusiast and bookworm, and El loved to play fiddle tunes on her violin and go running with her bestie, Buster,” she said, adding that the girls would want to be together. “They were inseperable in life.”

Jaron and Jessica Brown spoke about their son Buster, whose first name is actually Boyd, but he preferred to go by a family name that went back over 100 years.

“I just feel so lucky to be his dad. He was one of the most fun-loving, adventure-some kids,” said Jaron Brown. “Him and his older brother were just inseparable. You know, we mountain bike together, play basketball all the time [...] As fun and lively as Buster was and as competitive as he was at sports, he was also just honestly the sweetest kid.”

Hudson’s sister, Melanie Hanes, and brother, Issac Smith, talked about her selflessness and the legacy that she leaves behind.

“Andrea is calm, patient, selfless,” said Hanes. “We just are going to miss the void of this sweet, strong woman and sister; she never raised her voice at her children, she never raised her voice at anyone else.”

Smith spoke about Hudson’s “Christlike selfless love” and her role as a peacemaker. He also talked about her two children, who are in stable condition, but still in intensive care at Harborview.

“We’re so grateful to have them, just grateful that they’re still here fighting for their lives,” he said. “Charlotte is a sunshine when she walks in the room, she brings a wonderful energy ... Nolan is just an awesome kid and he’s really smart and bright. He loves long strategic board games and card games.”

Chase Wilcoxson then spoke for the families, saying that they have forgiven Jones.

“We try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. We believe in unconditional forgiveness and we pray and we plead for you to pray for the young man who caused this terrible accident and pray for his family. God loves him and we want the best for him,” Wilcoxson said.

Call to action

Closing out the press conference, Wilcoxson called on local government officials to “research and analyze” the road where the collision happened.

“These are not the first fatalities the have happened here in recent months and years, but with help, they can be the last,” he said. “We call on these authorities and leaders of our community to analyze and research what structural and other changes could be made here to make changes so that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Wilcoxson also called on drivers and members of the community to do their part to reduce deadly collisions.

“When you’re driving, think of the people around you. When you’re tempted to speed, think of Andrea. When you’re tempted to grab your phone while you’re driving, think of my beautiful girls, Matilda and Eloise. When you’re trying to make the light, remember Buster Brown,” he said.

Melanie Hanes (center) talks about her sister, Andrea Hudson at press conference held at the site of the deadly March 19 crash near Renton. From left to right: Issac Smith, Chase Wilcoxson, Hanes, Jessica Brown, Jaron Brown. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Alb Media.

Melanie Hanes (center) talks about her sister, Andrea Hudson at press conference held at the site of the deadly March 19 crash near Renton. From left to right: Issac Smith, Chase Wilcoxson, Hanes, Jessica Brown, Jaron Brown. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Alb Media.

Flowers, framed photos, plush toys and a QR code to the GoFundMe pages of the families grace the memorial site after the March 19 crash. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Alb Media.

Flowers, framed photos, plush toys and a QR code to the GoFundMe pages of the families grace the memorial site after the March 19 crash. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Alb Media.