Trial set in fatal Neah Bay crash

Woman died in Dec. 21 wreck

PORT ANGELES — A May 7 trial date has been set for a Neah Bay man in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on one count of involuntary manslaughter.

Summer Anne McCarty, 26, a Makah tribal member, died in a Dec. 21 car crash on Tsoo-Yess Beach on the Makah Reservation.

Meric Soeneke, 21, Neah Bay was indicted Feb. 21 in connection with McCarty’s death. He pleaded “not guilty” on Monday and was released on his personal recognizance pending trial.

Soeneke must submit to drug and alcohol testing and undergo a mental health, psychiatric or psychological evaluation and follow all treatment recommendations. He also can’t enter any business where alcohol or marijuana is the primary commodity for sale.

Failure to appear at any court hearing could result in five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

According to court records, Soeneke was driving at a high rate of speed in the dark on the unlit beach with three others in the vehicle and was under the influence of alcohol when he hit a large tree that had fallen across the beach. McCarty died in the crash.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to eight years in prison. It is defined in federal law as “the unlawful killing a human being without malice in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jocelyn Cooney, who serves as a tribal liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at Brian.Gawley@peninsuladailynews.com

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