A woman charged with vehicular homicide by King County prosecutors has fled the country, crossing the border to Vancouver, B.C., before departing on a flight to China on Oct. 10.
Ting Ye, 26, was connected to a fatal crash in Bellevue, heading from 112th Avenue Northeast toward State Route 520 on Sept. 30. Ye was driving a 2020 Porsche 911 with passenger Yabao Liu, 27.
According to the charging documents, she surpassed 90 mph in a 35-mph zone and lost control of the car around 3:45 a.m.
Ye’s loss of control resulted in the car becoming airborne and striking several objects before landing upside down, according to the charging documents. Subsequently, the passenger Liu suffered fatal injuries and was found deceased at the scene.
The responding firefighters cut Ye and Liu out of the car. At the time, it was unclear who was driving, said Officer Seth Tyler, Bellevue police spokesperson.
Both police and firefighters at the scene reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol on Ye’s breath, according to charging documents.
Though blood tests are pending from the toxicology lab, Tyler said the results would not change the status of the case due to her reckless driving.
Although Ye refused to speak with detectives or disclose information about Liu, police found the company Liu worked for, and found that both Ye and Liu were Chinese nationals working in Seattle, according to charging documents.
Ye’s Washington state license also shows no known traffic or criminal history, according to documents.
Due to the car flipping, Ye’s refusal to speak with detectives and the inability of the investigators to meet with the medics until a week after the crash — all that delayed the determination of who was at fault as well as probable cause for Ye’s arrest.
The morning of Oct. 6, an investigator contacted the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office requesting to issue a warrant for the case, Tyler said. At that point, the assumption — based on information from the hospital — was Ye would not be released for some time.
“We intended to get the warrant and place her under guard,” he said.
However, Ye left the hospital earlier than anticipated on Oct. 6. Tyler said it is still unclear if Ye was discharged or left the hospital on her own.
Three days later, on the evening of Oct. 9, an acquaintance drove Ye to Vancouver, B.C., where she planned to get on a flight to China the following day. The same day, King County prosecutors filed the case, according to charging documents. The prosecutors requested a $2 million bail and ordered Ye to hand over her passport and not leave Washington without permission.
Tyler said it was not until that evening of Oct. 10, after Ye departed to China, that the warrant for her arrest was entered into the system.
Since then, Ye failed to show up to her arraignment on Oct. 23, which resulted in the judge issuing a bench warrant, according to court documents.
Ye is under a national warrant, Tyler said. If she does try to come through any U.S. border, she will be flagged.
Detectives and police have been using alternative methods and connections to locate Ye because the U.S. and China do not share an extradition treaty, which helps governments keep criminals who have fled their country accountable for their crimes.
Tyler said they are applying for an Interpol Red Notice, which would flag Ye’s arrival to any country that shares an extradition treaty with the U.S.
“We have also reached out to federal agencies within the United States to attempt to contact the Chinese authorities and make them aware of the situation,” he said.
Tyler added the news of the case has already trickled down to Chinese news outlets.
“I’ve already been contacted by at least two Chinese news outlets,” he said. “They’ve indicated that this case has gained an intense interest in China. So I expect we’ll hear more on that.”
The Bellevue Police Department is also analyzing its internal policies and procedures to see if changes need to be made.
“We are going to be looking at the entire chain of events and timeline and see if there is anything moving forward, with future cases, that could be done to improve our process and reduce the likelihood that someone would flee the country as she did in this case,” Tyler said.