Fleeing suspect looses control, crashes car;
pregnant wife, unborn child, and daughter die
[Seattle, Wash]

Christina Kelly Special to the P-I
January 02, 2001, Tuesday , Final
Copyright 2001 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
January 02, 2001, Tuesday, Final

(SEATTLE, Wash.) -- A man who tried to elude police shortly after New Year's lost control of his car and rolled the vehicle several times, killing his pregnant wife, her unborn child and young daughter, authorities said.

All seven of the vehicle's occupants - including five young children - were thrown from the car.

Two 3-year-old twins were in serious and satisfactory condition in Harborview Medical Center. A 2-year-old girl was in satisfactory condition, and an 8-year-old boy was in serious condition.

Capt. Ted Fehr of the Tukwila Fire Department said the grisly accident scene was difficult for the crews that arrived.

"It was very tough," he said. "These scenes are always hard, but five children in the car - and they were all scattered on the ground. It was hard for our guys."

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the accident; the driver of the car faces criminal charges, including vehicular homicide.

Twenty-six-year-old Suzie McDowell - who was the mother of all the children - died a few hours after the accident. She was five months pregnant. A young girl was also killed. Authorities were unsure of her age.

The driver, Morial McDowell, was the father of at least three of the children, whom police would not identify.

The accident occurred at 12:24 a.m. yesterday when a King County deputy tried to stop a vehicle for reckless driving in the 700 block of Rainier Avenue South, said King County Sheriff's spokesman Bob Conner.

McDowell sped up and headed southbound, entering Interstate 405 at a high rate of speed, Conner said. The deputy lost sight of the small car.

Within minutes, the deputy came upon the accident scene where McDowell's car failed to negotiate a curve from I-405 northbound to Interstate 5. The Kia rolled several times.

McDowell, 26, was taken to Valley General Hospital, where he was treated for a broken leg and minor injuries.

He was booked into the King County Jail and will be charged with vehicular homicide, felony elude and vehicular assault

McDowell spent yesterday in the jail infirmary, sleeping while under guard.

A shift supervisor said a chaplain was called to tell him that his wife, an unborn child and another child were dead.

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