Chinese student posts $2 million bail on crash charge




SEATTLE — The family of a Chinese international student who faces a vehicular-homicide charge has presented a cashier's check for the $2 million bail to free him from custody.

Yichun Xu, 19, is accused of driving his newly purchased Mercedes-Benz at 70 mph through residential Des Moines, running a stop sign and crashing.

The other driver, Brenda Gomez-Zapata, 25, later died of a severe brain injury, and three others in her car were hurt as well. Xu faces one count of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular assault and two counts of reckless endangerment.

His bail was set at $2 million cash, which prosecutors had requested out of flight risk concerns. Xu's attorney, Scott Leist, couldn't be reached for comment.

"Rarely is a bail of that amount posted," said King County prosecutor's chief of staff Ian Goodhew. "We asked for $2 million because we had flight-risk concerns. We are very much concerned he won't show up."

One condition of Xu's release was that he surrender his passport. Goodhew said Chinese nationals in other cases have surrendered their passports yet somehow returned to China.

With no extradition treaty between the U.S. and China, Goodhew said King County has no recourse if Xu flees to his home country.

Xu couldn't be held in jail because he had no pattern of previous violence or failure to appear, Goodhew added. Xu lived with a host family in Olympia and had a student visa while attending South Puget Sound Community College.

At the time of the accident, Xu was driving without an international license; he hadn't driven in the U.S., charging documents said.

Gomez-Zapata was driving four relatives to a birthday party.