Patrick Steven Rexroat of Mountlake Terrance was sentenced to four years in prison Friday for vehicular homicide and negligent driving in the horrific July 24 crash on Rose Hill that killed respected Google software engineer Steve Lacey of Kirkland.
Rexroat pleaded guilty last month after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, and King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong followed prosecutors’ recommendation for the four-year sentence.
Rexroat, 56, who had pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in August and was jailed on $1 million bail, has remained in the King County Jail since then.
Prosecutors charged that Rexroat was drunk and chasing another driver when he exited Interstate 405 and lost control of his SUV, crossing the centerline of NE 85th Street and smashing into Lacey’s BMW, killing him instantly.
Lacey, 43, who also worked as a programmer at Microsoft and Facebook and was well known in the industry, lived in Kirkland’s Norkirk neigborhood and left a wife, Nabila, and children, Julian, 7 and Jasmine 5.
Prosecutors said Rexroat’s blood alcohol level tested at 0.29 after the accident, which is more than three times the legal limit. They quoted a witness as saying that upon emerging from his totalled SUV, Rexroat began beating his chest "like a gorilla," then walked toward Lacey’s car. According to charging documents, the witness told Rexroat to get back, that the other driver was dead, and he responded by saying “eh” and walking away.
But Rexroat’s attorney, Tim Leary, said after the arraignment in August that the chest-thumping incident was likely being mischaracterized. He said Rexroat had no criminal history and suffered chest injuries in the crash, and was likely clutching and hitting his chest to catch his breath.
The state Legislature just days ago passed a bill increasing penalties for those convicted of drunk driving, and the Rexroat case helped build support for the bill. The bill will not become law until 90 days after the legislative session, but increases penalties for vehicular homicide by DUI to six to eight years for a first offense.
With good behavior and credit for time served, Rexroat could be free in 32 months, according to the King County Prosecutor's Office.