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  • Bellingham Herald

    Bellingham man sentenced for 2022 Lakeway Drive vehicular homicide that killed one

    By Denver Pratt,

    24 days ago

    A Bellingham man will spend more than six years in prison for driving off the road and hitting and killing a pedestrian in the Puget neighborhood of Bellingham in September 2022.

    Jacob Matthew Saville, 38, was sentenced May 7 in Whatcom County Superior Court to 6.5 years in prison, with 1.5 years of probation for one count of vehicular homicide (DUI), a felony, for the Sept. 10, 2022 death of 42-year-old Joseph H. Beadles , of Bellingham.

    Saville pleaded guilty to the vehicular homicide charge in court the same day as his sentencing hearing, according to court records.

    Saville’s standard range prison sentence for his crime was between 6.5 to 8.5 years. The attorneys asked the court to follow an agreed upon recommended sentence of 78 months, the lowest time possible within the standard range. The court ultimately adopted the attorneys’ recommendations, court documents show.

    As part of Saville’s sentencing, he will be required to undergo a substance use disorder evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment; his driver’s license is revoked; and he will not be allowed to possess or consume alcohol or other intoxicants.

    He also will be required to pay $25,207.78 in restitution, of which $24,005.46 will go to the city of Bellingham, court documents state.

    Saville was transferred May 14 to a state prison in Shelton to begin serving his sentence, Whatcom County Jail and Washington State Department of Corrections records show.

    Prior to his sentencing, 45 letters in support of Saville and his character were submitted to the court. The letters — contained in a 56-page document submitted by Saville’s defense attorney — included statements from numerous family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, local business owners, former teachers, coaches, teammates and more. All described Saville as hardworking, caring and dedicated to his family and friends. Dozens of the letters described Saville’s bond with his six-year-old son, whom he cares for.

    The majority of the letters asked the court for leniency for Saville and provided details about the regret and remorse Saville has over his actions, the crash and Beadles’ death, the records show.

    Immediately following the crash, Saville wanted to reach out to Beadles’ family to “express his sorrow and condolences,” according to Saville’s defense attorney, Diego J. Vargas.

    “As any competent lawyer would, I had to counsel Mr. Saville not to do this. This tragic incident resulted in the death of Mr. Beadles and was devastating to Mr. Beadles’ family. As a father of a young son, Mr. Saville realized the damage he caused and struggled with guilt and anxiety as a result of what he had done,” Vargas told The Bellingham Herald in a statement.

    Multiple people who knew and/or were connected to Beadles also addressed the court at Saville’s sentencing hearing, court documents state.

    “He pled guilty as charged under the DUI prong of vehicular homicide. I think it was the correct outcome in the case. We’re pleased to see a conviction on that charge,” Whatcom County senior deputy prosecuting attorney Gordon Jenkins, who prosecuted the case, told The Herald.

    The crash

    At 12:36 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2022, Bellingham police were called to the 1600 block of Lakeway Drive in the Puget neighborhood for the report of a serious injury collision with a person down in a nearby yard of a residence, The Herald previously reported.

    A white Ford pickup registered to Saville was also crashed into a light pole.

    Saville told police he was driving the vehicle and was the only occupant. He also told police he “had attempted to swerve around a pedestrian to avoid hitting them,” before asking if Beadles was OK, court documents state.

    Emergency medical personnel pronounced Beadles dead on scene.

    A witness told police they saw Saville’s pickup approaching them in their rearview mirror as they drove eastbound on Lakeway Drive and that Saville was “flying up the road.” Other witnesses reported seeing Saville get out of the truck after he crashed it into the light pole, according to court records.

    Police stated they could smell intoxicants coming from Saville and said Saville had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech while they spoke with him following the crash, the records state.

    Saville was later determined to have a blood alcohol content of 0.19%, according to court documents.

    Lakeway Drive between Puget Street and Woburn Street was closed throughout the night following the crash to complete the investigation and remove the damaged light pole, The Herald previously reported.
    Bellingham police responded to a fatal collision Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022 in the 1600 block of Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, Wash. Bellingham Police Department/Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald
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