Eric Renz had just finished preparing food at one homeless services location and was biking to another to help out there when Kallie James allegedly blew a stop sign and struck him. We reported about this terrible collision last week.
KIRO 7’s Terry Griffin now reports that Renz has died of his injuries. He was 66. Our deepest condolences to his friends, family and the whole Puyallup community.
— Terry Griffin (@TerryKIRO7) December 10, 2014
The Pierce County Prosecutor announced that James will be charged with vehicular homicide. She’s scheduled to appear in court December 16.
According to court documents, which we posted in our previous report, James was allegedly told police that she could not feel the pedals. Responding officers performed field tests and determined that was “under the influence of a drug” and was not in a safe state to drive. She blamed her inability to feel the pedals on an antidepressant she was taking, but then she also apparently admitted to smoking marijuana.
She was originally charged with vehicular assault while Renz was in the hospital on a ventilator. Now that he has passed, assault will change to homicide.
Renz recently lost a campaign for the State House of Representatives to the Republican incumbent Hans Zeiger. Renz, who had retired from being a minister, ran on a platform in part based on reducing the tax burden on the poor through a more progressive taxing system, fighting climate change through a carbon tax and increasing funding for transit and bicycling.
For him to die while serving the homeless and riding his bike is just heartbreaking. It seems he really was someone who lived the values he taught and promoted in public.
His son Chris left the following message on the First Presbyterian Church of Puyallup Facebook page:
The support of friends, family, community, fellow church members, fellow political friends and argument companions, and homeless that were fed and given shelter by him has been incredible. One of the last things Dad will remember is being serenaded (along with the rest of the intensive care unit) by a beautiful cello and singing of hymns as the clouds literally parted and the sun shone through the window; it was incredibly fitting for as much as he loved music and the church.
If we are half of what Dad was in his service to others, we have accomplished much. Please honor him in the way that you see best, whether hugging your kids, feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless, volunteering at the church, and giving yourself to others.
With love and absolute gratitude for Dad,
Chris (“Topher”) and Emeline
For more on Renz, be sure to read this profile by the News Tribune.