Man who struck and killed Bradley Nakatani pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

From a court document

From a court document

Nathan Godwin faces 15-20 months in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment after he struck and killed Bradley Nakatani in 2011. Nakatani was 36.

Godwin admitted to police that he had been drinking before getting behind the wheel and striking Nakatani as he biked through the intersection of NE 123rd Street and Slater Ave in Kirkland.

From KOMO News:

A driver accused of striking and killing a bicyclist in Kirkland in December 2011 pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment.

Nathan J.Godwin, 26, of Redmond faces a possible 15-to-20-month prison term, followed by a year and a half of community custody, when he is sentenced Sept. 6 in King County Superior Court.

Court documents show that Godwin was supposed to be the designated driver for a friend, who was in the passenger seat when the collision occurred. Godwin continued driving a short distance, but his friend told him he had to go back if he hit someone.

Godwin failed a field sobriety test, then blew 0.078 on a breathalyzer. But in addition to alcohol, he had smoked a blunt and took several prescription pills.

He also said he was probably going 60 mph, almost double the 35 mph speed limit.

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12 Responses to Man who struck and killed Bradley Nakatani pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

  1. Ted Diamond says:

    Do we know if he will ever be allowed to drive again? I hope not.

  2. JB says:

    What is the best way to handle a threatening motorist – i.e. yelling obscenities and intentionally lurching his car toward me in a crosswalk? Just happened on Market Street in Ballard. I did get a picture of the vehicle and license plate. As far as I’m concerned, this is equivalent to pulling a knife on someone, but whether the cops would agree, I’m not sure.

    • A says:

      Definitely call 911 and give them license plate number, vehicle and driver description at the time of the incident.

      • JB says:

        Hmm, I’ve always thought it wouldn’t justify 911 if they are in the process of driving away. Anyway, how about now that it’s been an hour or so?

  3. JB says:

    Well, I called the cops this evening, and they did encourage me to call 911 if this situation arises again, but were not too interested in investigating after the fact. The vehicle was a red older model VW Passat wagon, Washington license #AFD3417 with an after-market roof rack. Driver was white male, about 50, trimmed beard, looked pretty thin. Just to get it out there in case this guy is involved in an accident or an “accident” at some point in the future.

    • Melinda says:

      FYI, Seattle PD triages everything through 911, so you even have to call 911 for stuff like noise complaints. It feels really wrong and counterintuitive, but there you go.

      • JB says:

        One time (in another state) I called 911 to report someone shooting paintballs at my house, in no uncertain terms they told me to hang up and dial their non-emergency number. Since then I’ve tried to reserve it for genuine emergencies; but apparently it’s different procedures out here -

      • Andreas says:

        This is a dangerously misleading statement. Calls to the non-emergency line (206-625-5011) are indeed handled by 911 operators, but they’re only answered after operators have handled all the current 911 calls (which is why you might be on hold for a while if you call around, say, 2 a.m. on a Saturday).

        If you’re calling 911 directly for something like a noise complaint or parking enforcement, you might be keeping someone with a real emergency from getting through to an operator as quickly as possible.

  4. JC says:

    JB, yelling threats of injury from a car constitutes assault. Call 911 every time. Frequently people who are truly aggressive and threatening (ie. not just passing and crabby motorists having an uncharacteristically bad day and saying rude things to others) are repeat offenders. In my experience, the DA’s office in Seattle is interested in pursuing people who regularly threaten pedestrians and cyclists with physical harm.

  5. Dylan says:

    Seriously, you don’t even get 2 years for killing someone?

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      It was a plea deal. And he did cooperate. Clearly, his punishment doesn’t seem on par with other crimes, but it is significant. And we do want to encourage people not to hit-and-run, right? Today, there’s just such a huge incentive to flee. Maybe I’m just cynical after so many victims and families are left without answers, that I’m ok with someone getting nearly 2 years and taking responsibility.

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