WSP suspects meth in deadly I-405 crash; victim identified

BELLEVUE, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol suspects a driver speeding more than 100 mph was under the influence of methamphetamine when he slammed into another car and killed its driver in a fiery crash on Interstate 405 in Bellevue.

Troopers say the driver responsible survived the Thursday night crash and may be charged with vehicular homicide. Investigators at the scene said he didn't even brake before crashing into the other car, a 2002 BMW.

The BMW slid for several feet and then went into a rapid roll before crashing into a concrete barrier and bursting into flames on the side of the road. Its 22-year-old driver was trapped inside as it burned. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

State troopers responded to the scene at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday after receiving reports of an erratic driver and a serious crash.

The suspect, Samuel C. Sampson, 27, of Woodinville, remained under guard at the hospital Friday afternoon, Trooper Chris Webb said. On his release, he would be booked into jail for investigation of vehicular homicide and possible other charges, Webb said.

The man made statements to troopers at the scene that led them to suspect he was under the influence of meth or something similar, Webb said. Investigators are waiting for the result of drug tests. They'll also get a warrant to search the wreckage of his car.

Police are also investigating Tweets KOMO 4 News also uncovered from Sampson that seem to indicate his penchant for speed.

"Blew past a cop at 130 mph already, glanced over and kept accelerating. I was already going his top speed." and "Still learning how to read cops out here. They're driving among traffic 90% of the time so it makes me hesitant for 155mph."

"If that was the case, you know obviously that's very disturbing and that might be a precursor for what happened last night," Webb said.

The victim who died was identified by the family's attorney as Ian Riley Beckford, 22, of Federal Way. He had spent the day at Lake Sammamish with a longtime friend, waterskiing and swimming, and was on his way home when the crash happened, said the attorney, Eric Makus.
Ian Riley Beckford

Beckford was a Federal Way High School graduate and was about to return to college this fall. He is survived by a 19-year-old brother and parents, Makus said.

All southbound lanes of the freeway were closed until 5 a.m. Friday as troopers investigated the crash.

Investigators said the debris field was about 2,000 feet long - illustrating the sheer power of the collision.

"All of a sudden I hear like this massive ker-pow and then a crunch and then a loud explosion like a bang," said one witness.

A third vehicle also was hit and totaled in the crash, but the driver of that vehicle is expected to recover. A passenger in the suspect's car was also injured.