By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Tyson Svetich, 18, of Quilcene pleaded not guilty earlier this month after he was charged in the death of Ruby-Jean Murray, 14.
Murray was in the bed of a pickup truck with two friends on a gravel road near Quilcene on June 30 when Svetich made a sudden move, throwing two of the girls from the truck while pinning Murray underneath the vehicle, which had rolled over, according to Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies.
Svetich’s trial is scheduled Dec. 16-17 at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend.
Svetich was not detained after the wreck and was released on his own recognizance after his hearing Sept. 20.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Ashcraft said his office “spent time on the investigation so we could get it right and then found there was probable cause to file charges.”
“Crimes don’t get any more serious than this one,” he said.
Svetich told deputies he was just “playing around” with the girls and estimated his speed at 25 to 30 mph before he lost control of the wheel and “overcorrected,” according to Sheriff’s Office reports.
Murray, daughter of Tim and Vikki Murray of Brinnon, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where she died of her injuries July 1.
“Whatever happens at the trial, this is one of those lose-lose cases,” said Michael Haas, who is representing Svetich.
“We lost a very wonderful child, and we can’t imagine what kind of pain the family is in, and this is something that will be tearing Tyson apart for the rest of his life,” Haas said.
”You can never bring this child back, and you can never restore Tyson’s loss of innocence.”
Svetich was tested for drugs and alcohol, and none was found in his system, Sheriff’s Office reports said.
Haas said the maximum sentence for the charge for those convicted with no prior offenses is 27 months in prison.
Svetich has worked as a volunteer for the Quilcene Fire Department and will continue to do so, Haas said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.