Woman charged with Steve Covert's death 8 months later

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- It was back in the spring, when Steven Covert was on his way back from wrestling practice with his son. They were hit head-on by another driver. Steven didn't make it.

The same day his father was killed, Dylan Covert reached out to KEPR, wanting to share his father's memory. Now, eight months later, Dylan is hoping he'll see justice for the tragedy that rocked his world.

"He was there for us when we needed him," said Dylan Covert, choking back tears in an interview 8 months ago. Steve Covert died in his son's arms along the side of a West Richland road. They were just two miles from home.

Dylan called KEPR the same day, still in shock but wanting to share his story. "He'd be there for us no matter what."

Benton County Sheriff's Department quickly said Natalie Lincoln was to blame. She told deputies she looked down to adjust her cruise control and crossed the center line. For the family, the investigation seemed to stop with the funeral.

"It was devastating to think she wasn't going to be held accountable and no charges were going to be held against her," said Cindy Covert, Steve's widow. "It's like our lives were ripped to shreds, and she walks away without any accountability."

But Steve's widow remained determined. Cindy Covert continued to call the Benton County Prosecutor's Office. The initial investigation did not result in criminal charges, but prosecutor Terry Bloor chose to take another look.

In late January, Bloor made the decision to charge Natalie Lincoln with vehicular homicide. Lincoln had taken multiple prescription drugs before driving that day -- including Adderall, a form of amphetamine; citalopram, an antidepressant; and also two doses of baclofen, a muscle relaxant. Baclofen specially has warnings about driving while taking it.

They add up to reasons why the Covert family says this is not an accident. It could have been prevented.

"I've taught my kids and raised my kids to be accountable for their actions," said Cindy Covert. "To try and explain to them how someone could do this and not be held accountable, what do I tell my kids? Do I tell them these kinds of things happen and they get to walk away?"

The Coverts say they aren't seeking retribution, but rather a change - hoping this father's memory won't be forgotten.

"We want to make sure this doesn't happen to another family," said Rose Covert, Steve's mother.

The Covert family says they are thankful for all the community support they've received. Natalie Lincoln's next court date is set for mid-March.