William Gatlin was using his truck to drive for Uber and Lyft seven days a week. He hopes he’ll be able to buy a new vehicle soon, since that was his only source of income. Photo courtesy Shelby Richards

William Gatlin was using his truck to drive for Uber and Lyft seven days a week. He hopes he’ll be able to buy a new vehicle soon, since that was his only source of income. Photo courtesy Shelby Richards

Dead passengers in fatal SR 164 crash identified

One of the passengers was a local middle schooler.

Editor’s note: The print and online version of this article incorrectly stated the time of the wreck was 1 p.m. The time was actually 1 a.m., and has been updated.

The Enumclaw community was rocked after a fatal crash killed two last week.

On Dec. 4, at approximately 1 a.m., a 2004 Kia Spectra was heading west on state Route 164 when it lost control near the 196th Avenue Southeast intersection, colliding head-on with a 2013 Ford F150 at a high rate of speed, though detectives have not specified how fast the Spectra was going.

Inside the Spectra was Crystal Mulling, 22, Charles Saylor, 18, Jacob Brown, 21, and Makyela Knaus, 13.

All four were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the car.

Mulling, from Enumclaw, and Saylor, from Vader, Washington, were injured and sent to Harborview hospital. Brown and Knaus were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Enumclaw School District Superintendent Mike Nelson, Knaus was a student at Enumclaw Middle School this year, but was not a student in the district at the time of the crash.

Brown’s city of residence could not be confirmed by deadline.

In the Ford was Enumclaw resident William Gatlin, 31, who was also transported to Harborview.

Immediately after the crash, Gatlin’s girlfriend, Shelby Richards, created a GoFundMe account to raise money for Gatlin.

According to Richards, Gatlin had recently lost his job when his employer unexpectedly went out of business, and was trying to drive for Uber and Lyft full time.

“Now that his truck is totaled we now have no source of income, no vehicle, and Will is going to need months of rehabilitative therapy to even be able to walk normally again,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page, which is titled “Fatality Vehicle Crash in Enumclaw, WA.”

In recounting the collision, Gatlin said he made every attempt to stop his truck when he saw the Spectra sliding out of control toward him, and for a split second, recognized how bad the crash was going to be.

“Later learning that the driver of the car was intoxicated and had 3 passengers made me feel sick,” he said. “I could not understand why someone would choose to drive heavily under the influence and with passengers as young as 13 years old in the vehicle. I can only wish the best for the families of those that lost their lives.”

It is not confirmed alcohol was a factor in the wreck, but WSP public information officer Trooper Rick Johnson said they are recommending charging Mulling with vehicular homicide, as “we have reasons to believe that alcohol was involved.”

The idea that Gatlin could have potentially provided a ride to Mulling and her passengers was not lost on him.

“I drive tons of people around in the community — some are intoxicated and some are not, and I enjoy doing it,” he said. “With these people I would have picked them up and taken them wherever they wanted to go. Had they not chosen to drive lives would have been spared that night.”

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