Man charged with vehicular homicide attempts suicide

Posted 11/6/19

The medical emergency that forced a mistrial in the case of a local architect killed in a car-bike collision was the defendant’s attempt to commit suicide on the first day he was to appear in court.

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Man charged with vehicular homicide attempts suicide

Posted

The medical emergency that forced a mistrial in the case of a local architect killed in a car-bike collision was the defendant’s attempt to commit suicide on the first day he was to appear in court.

A mistrial was declared on Oct. 29 in the case against Patrick C. McConnell, 64.

McConnell, who lives in Jefferson County, is charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of marijuana after the death of 75-year-old architect Mark Henthorn in a car-bike collision that occurred on March 28, 2018.

On the morning of Oct. 29, McConnell’s sister called 911, saying her brother was unconscious and that she could not rouse him, according to the call record.

When medics arrived, they found McConnell breathing, but unresponsive.

He had been kneeling at the end of his bed and had left a suicide note.

His sister reported to police that McConnell felt guilty since the crash that killed Henthorn, and that he had been upset over the impending trial.

He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and a deputy notified the court.

Jury selection was completed Monday for the trial, which was expected to last two weeks.

But when the jury was seated Tuesday, a juror reported to The Leader, Superior Court Judge Keith Harper dismissed jurors because of a “medical issue.”

According to Harborview, McConnell is no longer a registered patient.

There is a status hearing set for 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 8 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

BACKGROUND

Based on an investigation by Port Townsend Police Officer Mark DuMond, McConnell was driving down 19th street on March 28, 2018 and failed to notice Henthorn riding just a few feet ahead of him in the bike lane.

When McConnell made a right-hand turn onto Landes Street, he crossed the bicycle lane in front of Henthorn, causing Henthorn to strike McConnell’s car and suffer life-threatening injuries.

Henthorn was airlifted to Harborview and later died from the injuries he sustained.

Toxicology reports showed McConnell was driving under the influence of marijuana.

Henthorn spent his career as an architect, and was well known for his painting.

He worked with pastels, watercolors, and oils to paint landscapes of the outdoors.

His art was displayed in galleries in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and in the Port Townsend Gallery and Northwind Arts Center.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 783 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2017.

Alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.

By law, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises automobile-drivers to yield to bicyclists as they would to motorists and to not underestimate cyclists’ speed.

This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.

A white bicycle adorned with flowers stands at the corner of 19th and Landes Streets.

It marks the spot where Henthorn died as both a sign of remembrance and a warning for drivers.

Ghost bikes like this one are a world-wide phenomenon to mark the spot of car-bike accidents where a cyclist has died.

It’s a way of both remembering the lost biker while also reminding drivers to keep a watchful eye for all the vehicles, both engine-powered and man-powered, that share the road.

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