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Memorial for Nellie Yelli Saturday + Treza Hafzalla charged with Vehicular Homicide, Hit & Run

Nellie Yelli. Photo from the memorial event page.
Nellie Yelli. Photo from the memorial event page.

Friends, family and neighbors will gather tomorrow (Saturday) morning to remember Nellie Yelli, 62, who was killed Sunday while walking in a Green Lake crosswalk.

The memorial, organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, begins 11 a.m. at 82nd and Wallingford Ave N, the intersection where she was killed. More details are available on the event page.

Our condolences to her friends and family.

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Treza Hafzalla, 27, was charged Thursday with Vehicular Homicide and Felony Hit and Run. Hafzalla allegedly failed to yield to Yelli, who was halfway through the crosswalk when Hafzalla struck her with her GMC Jimmy. Yelli died at the scene. Police found Yelli’s grocery cart stuck in the grill of Hafzalla’s SUV, according to the charging document.

Hafzalla allegedly called her boyfriend after parking her SUV a mile from the scene. But instead of taking her home, he drove her back to the scene where she was arrested. Hafzalla is suspected of DUI, though blood tests were still pending as of the time charges were filed.

More details on Saturday’s memorial:

On Sunday evening, Jan 1, Donelle “Nellie” Yelli was allegedly killed by an impaired driver while crossing Wallingford Ave N & N 82nd St in a marked crosswalk. An excellent profile of her was run on KOMO at http://komonews.com/news/local/beloved-mother-hen-at-greenwood-group-home-killed-in-seattle-crash

Donelle “Nellie” Yelli, 62, lived at Greenwood House, a home for women in need sponsored by the Low Income Housing Institute, where she was known as “the mother hen” who kindly took others under her wing. Her death was particularly poignant; she was a caring person living in a shelter. She is survived by her son, Michael McIntosh.

Please join us in gathering this Saturday Jan 7 at 11:00 AM at the corner of N. 82nd St. & Wallingford Ave N where she was killed.

Her family and friends from Greenwood House, people from the neighborhood, people from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, others who advocate for road safety and who advocate for help for people in need, and hopefully you will gather to memorialize Nellie’s life and memory and to memorialize all who’ve died in traffic.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways runs a Memorial Walks program and has done more than 20 advocacy actions following fatalities of people walking and biking – only with the full support of the family of the victims. This is the first fatality Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been involved with since they began placing white silhouettes in honor of all traffic fatality victims

Traffic violence disproportionately impacts low-income people. For the first time, the simple Seattle Neighborhood Greenways white silhouette and the 11AM event this Saturday will take on a more powerful role of both memorial marker and remembrance.

The advocacy action for this particular fatality includes a request for Washington State DUI legislation to be strengthened and enforced.

There is no money to pay for her funeral or burial. Her family is working on crowd-funding for funeral expenses. A link to the crowd-funding site will be provided later.

Pastor Nick Steinloski from Bethany Community Church will say a blessing for her life.

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6 responses to “Memorial for Nellie Yelli Saturday + Treza Hafzalla charged with Vehicular Homicide, Hit & Run”

  1. R

    Why are they crowd funding funeral expenses? Funeral expenses are covered by Washington’s Crime Victim Compensation Fund.

    1. ConcernedNeighbor

      Thanks R
      The idea originated from people in the neighborhood and her friends who wanted to contribute to a fund for a proper funeral and burial. The alternative likelihood was utilizing the King County Indigent Burial Program which cremates the body of indigents and then stores the ashes until the next mass funeral and burial of indigents .. it occurs once every 2 years for several hundred at a time … the last was in Oct 2016.
      We’ll check into the WA Crime Victim Compensation Fund (although I suspect that compensation would not happen until after conviction, which could be down the road a bit.

  2. (Another) Tom

    “According to court records the woman had previously been charged with drunken driving, but the case was reduced to a charge of negligent driving.”

    Maybe if we can get this one to stick she’ll only need to kill one, maybe three, more people before we can charge her with a felony.

  3. ConcernedNeighbor

    Photos of Nellie’s memorial gathering have been posted on Paul Dorpat’s and Jean Sherrard’s Seattle Times “Now and Then” blog. https://pauldorpat.com/
    Scroll down below the current article to the “Web Extras” section.

  4. J

    My condolences to the victim’s family, her friends, those she helped and the residents of Wallingford Ave N between N 80th St and N 82nd St.

    A neighborhood was turned into a vehicular homicide crime scene because of this tragedy.

    Donelle Yelli’s body remained on the pavement for more than 4 hours while the crime scene was analyzed.

    Parents had to explain this to children.

    Donelle’s blood remained on the pavement for days after the incident.

    Why? It’s winter. Wet streets turn into ice sheets over night.

    If we had washed it away, we’d have created an ice-sheet hazard for normal morning traffic and the students of Bishop Blanchet High School the following days. No one wanted an encore performance of New Year’s day nightmare.

    Driving While Intoxicated is serious. Do not drive while intoxicated (DWI).

    In fact, do not drive while impaired (DWI), do not drive while inattentive (DWI), do not drive while impatient (DWI), do not drive while infuriated (DWI). If you’re intoxicated, impaired, inattentive, impatient or infuriated do not drive.

    A vehicle is a tool which is easily converted to weapon; just add intoxication, impairment, inattentiveness, impatience or infuriation.

    Do not treat your vehicle as some personal realm of sovereignty. It’s a deadly weapon. Treat your vehicle as a deadly weapon.

    A vehicle – 1000s of pounds of propelled metal machine – is every bit lethal as poison, as lethal as an improvised explosive device and as lethal as a firearm. You are never entitled to wield a weapon in a reckless manner.


    Share the road. Share the world. Do not weapon-ize your car, your truck, your cross-over, your SUV by driving while intoxicated, impaired, inattentive, impatient or infuriated.

    … and if you think you’re entitled to drive while intoxicated, inattentive, impatient or infuriated, tell a qualified mental health professional in the presence of a law enforcement official that you’re entitled to do so; so the rest of us may rest assured you won’t be injuring or killing us.


  5. Dave

    I’ll add this, which came into my head around my fortieth year of cycling–DRUNK DRIVERS ARE NOT PEOPLE. Can they be stalked and harassed into quitting driving if they can’t quit drinking?

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