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June 26, 2022

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Selah man convicted of vehicular homicide missed sentencing because he went to wrong courtroom

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YAKIMA — A Selah man believed to have skipped his sentencing hearing Monday morning after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide was in the wrong courtroom, said Prosecutor Joe Brusic.

Thomas D. Withrow was scheduled to appear in Courtroom 2 at the Yakima County Courthouse. Instead, he showed up to the courtroom in the basement of Yakima County Superior Court, where preliminary hearings, arraignments and many other in-custody proceedings are heard.

When he didn’t show in Courtroom 2, Judge Jeff Swan issued a $1 million bench warrant for his arrest.

Withrow, 59, was taken into custody later Monday, where he will remain until a 4 p.m. sentencing Tuesday, Brusic said.

Withrow pleaded guilty to the charge on April 1, 2022, two days after his trial began.

He was accused of killing Diane Leitz, 81, in a crash outside Selah in June 2019. He was driving a pickup on North Wenas Road when he crossed into the oncoming lane and crashed into Leitz and another vehicle near Lampe Road, according to court documents.

Leitz died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle five days after the crash.

Withrow said he was under the influence of the prescription drug oxycodone at the time of the crash.

Prosecutors were planning to recommend a six-year prison sentence that included two 24-month impaired-driving enhancements in a plea agreement.

Withrow was to plead guilty to two unrelated counts of violating a no-contact order in Yakima County District Court with a one-year sentence that would run concurrently with the vehicular homicide sentence.

In 1995, Withrow was charged with driving under the influence, but instead was convicted of reckless driving.

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