Two plead not guilty in alleged 2021 road racing incident that killed Edmonds woman

Defendant Sebastian Smith, right, at his Wednesday court appearance — via video — with attorney Michael Sheehy.

Two Lynnwood-area residents appeared in Snohomish County Superior Court on Wednesday to answer charges stemming from a vehicle crash during an alleged road racing incident that claimed the life of then-34-year-old Molly Lally of Edmonds. The 21-year-old defendants, Sebastian Smith and Shay Daniels, were both 18 at the time of the incident. Both defendants have been charged with two crimes, one count of vehicular homicide and one of vehicular assault, the latter related to injuries sustained by a passenger in one of the vehicles. They pleaded not guilty to both charges.

In documents filed with the court, prosecutors allege that on the evening of Sept. 6, 2021, the pair were driving in separate vehicles (Daniels in a BMW automobile and Smith in a Ford Ranger pickup) in adjacent westbound lanes on 164th Street Southwest approaching the intersection with 25th Avenue West. Three witnesses gathering water at the artesian well located about one block east of the 25th Avenue intersection observed the two vehicles going at what they described as a “very high rate of speed.” These witnesses further said that the vehicles were “side by side and appeared to be racing.” A few seconds later, they reported hearing a loud crash.

Defendant Shay Daniels, left, at her Wednesday arraignment with attorney Taylor Severns.

A motorist witness driving east on 164th observed an eastbound orange Hyundai Veloster attempt to make a left turn into 25th Avenue from the dedicated left-turn lane in order to proceed north on 25th Avenue. While making this maneuver, the Hyundai was struck by the westbound BMW, driven by defendant Daniels.

Dispatched to the scene, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies found that the BMW and Hyundai had sustained “catastrophic” damage, with the Hyundai’s engine pushed into the passenger compartment. The Hyundai’s driver, Molly Lally, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators found that the Ranger left 342 feet of skid marks beginning well before the intersection, before rotating counterclockwise and finally coming to rest across both westbound lanes of 164th just west of the point of impact.

Deputies found defendant Shay Daniels and her friend Imani Strange sitting on the curb. They told officers that they were the occupants of the BMW (Daniels driving and Strange in the passenger seat). Both were transported to Providence hospital, where they were interviewed by detectives. According to Strange, they first encountered the Ranger pickup while stopped at the intersection near the freeway, a short distance east of the crash site. Daniels stated that she was driving westbound at about 40 mph when the Hyundai turned in front of them. She stated she did not know the driver of the Ranger. Strange suffered a fracture to her right foot in the crash and was treated at Providence.

The driver of the Ranger, Sebastian Smith, wrote a statement at the scene. In it, he stated that “me and the BMW were going down the hill…the BMW passed me and an orange car pulled out in front of it and they crashed and the wreckage hit my truck.” He further stated he was driving at 35 mph, and he was not racing.

Post-incident calculations by detectives based on the length of the skid marks left by the truck and momentum analysis of the BMW at impact pegged the truck’s speed at between 84 and 96 mph and the BMW’s at between 62 and 78 mph.

Trial is set for May 19. Both defendants remain free on recognizance on condition that they commit no further crimes and do not drive without a valid license and insurance.

— By Larry Vogel with reporting and photos by Nick Ng

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