Valley man charged in deputy's death

A Carnation man allegedly smoked marijuana before causing a head-on crash that killed an off-duty sheriff's deputy July 18 at 3:07 p.m.

Sean Kearney, 20, was charged Oct. 26 in Yakima County Superior Court with one count each of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Kearney attempted to pass a semi truck and trailer in a no-passing zone on Highway 97, about 20 miles south of Toppenish, when his Audi S4 sedan smashed into the 1993 Nissan 200SX, driven by Klickitat County Sgt. Peter Garland, 38. Garland later died of injuries sustained in the crash at Toppenish Community Hospital. He was married and had two foster children.

Kearney and his passengers reportedly told troopers they had smoked marijuana before leaving Carnation that morning on the way to Bend, Ore. Troopers said they found marijuana and a smoking device in the vehicle and Kearney tested positive for marijuana use.

Kearney and his two passengers - Nick Hinton, 20, and Zachary H. Mehrens, 17, both of Carnation - were treated for minor injuries.

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