Trial set for driver in crash that killed two


WALLA WALLA — A former Walla Walla man was arraigned Monday afternoon in Superior Court on criminal charges stemming from a head-on vehicle crash in 2012 that killed two people and substantially injured two others on U.S. Highway 12.

Henry L. Thacker, 39, pleaded innocent to two counts each of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

His trial is set to begin Sept. 29.

Thacker is accused of driving a westbound 1997 Toyota Corolla in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others when he tried to pass in what became a no-passing zone and collided head-on with an oncoming 2003 Dodge Intrepid.

The crash, which occurred at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 2012, about 4 miles east of Wallula Junction, resulted in the deaths of two of Thacker’s passengers — Ruth E. Garcia, 36, and Angelique Garcia, 37, both of College Place.

A third passenger from College Place, Andres Medina-Garcia, then 7, suffered spinal and internal injuries.

The other driver, Lynda G. West, who was 51 at the time and from Richland, received injuries to both of her legs.

Thacker, himself, reportedly sustained severe leg injuries.

No alcohol or narcotics were detected in a subsequent analysis of his blood, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Thacker’s criminal history includes nine felony convictions.

The new charges against him were filed in April and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He later was apprehended in Pennington County, S.D., and returned to Walla Walla last month.

He’s incarcerated in the County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Terry McConn can be reached at or 526-8319.


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