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Deal may have been reached in 2011 fatal car crash case

Posted: February 19, 2013 - 5:37pm  |  Updated: February 20, 2013 - 1:09am
Ryan W. West, 27, appears in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday. West is charged with one count of second-degree murder for his involvement in the fatal car crash on Glacier Highway last summer that killed Gabriel Carte, 19.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Ryan W. West, 27, appears in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday. West is charged with one count of second-degree murder for his involvement in the fatal car crash on Glacier Highway last summer that killed Gabriel Carte, 19.

A plea deal may have been reached for the 27-year-old Juneau man charged with second-degree murder in connection to a deadly car crash Out The Road in 2011.

Public Defender David Seid, the attorney for defendant Ryan W. West, said Tuesday the parties may have reached a “tentative agreement” and requested a hearing to discuss it. However, Seid requested the current trial date remain on the court’s calendar. West is presently scheduled to go to trial next week, on Monday, Feb. 25.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez granted the request for the hearing and scheduled it for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Seid declined to discuss the details of the agreement after Tuesday’s hearing. District Attorney David Brower also declined to comment.

West, 27, was charged with one count of second-degree murder for his involvement in the June 6, 2011, single vehicle crash that killed Gabriel Carte, 19. The crash occurred near Mile 32 of Glacier Highway.

Prosecutors argue that West was driving at the time of the crash, but West has maintained that he was not.

Police initially said alcohol and speed were factors in the crash, although pretrial litigation indicated West was not legally intoxicated at the time.

West testified at the grand jury that he drank two beers that evening, and a hospital screening blood alcohol test read 71 milligrams per 100 deciliters, or .071 percent, which is lower that the legal limit of 0.08, according to one of Seid’s prior motions. Another blood alcohol test report from the Alaska’s Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory Report showed West’s blood alcohol level as “None Detected,” according to the prior motion.

West has been in custody since his arrest on $500,000 bond. Second-degree murder is an unclassified felony that can carry up to 99 years in prison.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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