PORT TOWNSEND — A trial date of Feb. 28 has been set for Gregory Lechtenberg, charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Stan Cummings in July.
Lechtenberg, 81, was arraigned and charged on Oct. 15 with vehicular homicide — disregard for safety of others, after the tractor that he was towing while driving along state Highway 20 struck Cummings who was riding his bike on the shoulder of the road on July 5, court documents said.
Cummings, the former executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center who had overseen the facility’s construction, died on July 13 as a result of his injuries. He was 76.
Lechtenberg was released on personal recognizance from the Jefferson County Jail after the arraignment. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 28 for an omnibus hearing.
Vehicular homicide is a Class A felony punishable by up to life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.
State troopers interviewed a family of three who were traveling in two vehicles behind Lechtenberg’s. Each said in separate interviews that the tractor was hanging off the trailer toward the shoulder, and that they saw it miss Cumming’s wife Sigrid, who was also riding her bike, but then strike Stan, a State Patrol report said.
Cummings was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center as a result of his injuries.
Lechtenberg said in a later interview after the collision, that he had not realized he had hit someone. One of the witnesses pulled in front of him and had him pull over.
All three witnesses told the State Patrol that both Stan and Sigrid were fully in the shoulder of the highway, with no part of themselves or their bikes being in the roadway.
According to them, there was no oncoming traffic or any other obstruction in the road that would have kept Lechtenberg from moving over when passing the Cummings, to avoid potentially hitting either of them.
“The disc mower arm passed over the head of Sigrid Cummings as Lechtenburg passed her. The disc mower arm struck Stanley Cummings in the back of his head, causing the injuries that would ultimately claim his life,” the report said.
Lechtenberg was traveling from Sequim to Port Townsend to have a tire repaired on the tractor, when he struck Cummings, Lechtenberg told the State Patrol.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]