Fatal crash suspect charged with manslaughter

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COEUR d’ALENE — The North Idaho man accused of driving drunk and crashing into a car resulting in the death of the teenage son of a Kootenai County sheriff’s sergeant was charged Tuesday with felony manslaughter and his bond was set at $200,000.

William E. Swan, 45, of Coeur d’Alene appeared in First District magistrate court where he was formally charged with felony DUI, manslaughter and two misdemeanors including possessing drug paraphernalia and driving without privileges.

Swan is accused of T-boning a stalled vehicle on Interstate 90 Friday evening near the Fourth Street exit.

He was arrested after striking a green, 1995 Acura driven by Jonah Z. Leeder, 20, of Coeur d’Alene. Leeder was seriously injured in the crash that killed his 16-year-old brother, Jacob.

According to police, Leeder was driving eastbound at approximately 10:30 on a wintery highway when he attempted to pass another vehicle and spun out of control causing his vehicle to stall perpendicular to oncoming traffic in the right lane.

Swan, who was also driving east in a gold, 2000 Chevy Silverado struck the stalled Acura. All three were wearing seatbelts, according to Idaho State Police.

The juvenile passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, police said, and his older brother was transported to Kootenai Health, and later transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. He was transported Tuesday to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was admitted into the intensive care unit.

Following the crash, Idaho State Police attempted to get a breath sample from Swan, but he refused, according to court records.

Swan told Trooper Holly Branch that he would not cooperate with her investigation to determine if he had been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“No,” Swan told the Trooper. “I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

Refusing to participate in a police alcohol investigation results in an automatic license suspension and a substantial fine under Idaho’s Implied Consent Law.

Motorists are prohibited from legally operating a vehicle if their blood alcohol level is over .08. Swan’s blood alcohol content was not released in court records.

If he remains in custody, Swan will have a probable cause hearing within 14 days, or within 21 days if he bonds out of jail.

A probable cause hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to bind over the defendant to felony court for further proceedings.

The boys’ father is Sgt. Tim Leeder of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

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