Man who left friend who died gets 52 months in prison

Pleads guilty to hit-and-run death, DUI, vehicular homicide

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A Vancouver man was sentenced Monday to more than four years in prison for leaving his best friend who bled to death following a March 5 drunken-driving crash east of Hockinson.

Yuriy V. Tasmaly, 18, pleaded guilty Monday in Clark County Superior Court to hit-and-run death, the vehicular homicide of his friend, Mikhail L. Golovach, 18, of Vancouver, and to driving under the influence.

In emotional testimony Monday, the victim’s sister, Irina Zhukova, asked Tasmaly why he left her brother at the scene of the collision near the 26000 block of Northeast Rawson Road without calling 911 or asking for help from the numerous residences nearby.

“He was my everything,” Zhukova said, choked by tears. “He was my little brother.”

The victim’s girlfriend, who declined to give her name, stood next to Zhukova, holding a large framed photograph of Golovach.

Tasmaly didn’t call for help for his friend even though he was carrying two cellphones, one of which he used to call a friend to pick him up, said Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu.

Nearby residents said it took them about two minutes from the time they heard the crash until they arrived in the yard to see what happened, said Clark County sheriff’s Deputy James Payne. Tasmaly had disappeared in that time, Payne said.

“(Golovach) bled to death in the car,” Payne said. “He had a severed artery. Had he gotten assistance sooner that might have made a difference.”

“He was not apprehended until over an hour later,” Vu said of Tasmaly. “(He) was two miles away up the road away from civilization toward Larch Mountain.”

Tasmaly faced the nearly 30 people in the courtroom’s public gallery and apologized for his actions. There were friends and family of Tasmaly and Golovach, including the victim’s parents.

“I pray to God every day, and I ask for forgiveness, and I ask all of you if you can forgive me,” Tasmaly said. “I was dazed and confused (when I left the crash scene). I didn’t know what was going on.”

Before the collision, Tasmaly and Golovach had been drinking with friends. Tasmaly, who already had a criminal history of reckless driving and minor in possession of alcohol, told police that he drank six beers before heading out with Golovach in another friend’s BMW M3 E46 sedan, Vu said. More than an hour after the collision, Tasmaly’s blood alcohol content was 0.13; the legal limit is 0.08.

On that night, the two friends apparently went out to continue an ongoing competition over who could drive the fastest down Larch Mountain, said Tasmaly’s attorney, Steven Thayer. Tasmaly wanted to beat his previous record; Golovach was timing Tasmaly with his cellphone, Thayer said.

Tasmaly was driving at about 70 mph on the winding mountain road, more than double the posted speed limit of 30 mph, Vu said.

The vehicle spun out of control, was propelled into the air and struck a tree about 40 feet away, he said.

“This was every parent’s nightmare, and the outcome was every parent’s nightmare,” Thayer said. “There is nothing more tragic than the loss of a child.”

Judge Daniel Stahnke agreed to a joint recommendation by the defense and prosecution attorneys for the sentence of 52 months, which is midway in the state standard range of 46 to 61 months. Vu dismissed charges of theft of a motor vehicle, driving while suspended and minor in possession of alcohol, as part of a plea deal.

Tasmaly will be required to serve 18 months of probation, have alcohol and substance abuse treatment and pay more than $8,000 in restitution for the cost of his friend’s funeral.

“I think (the sentence) is too little because he ran off,” Zhukova said. “Why didn’t he do anything? He let my brother bleed to death.”