A 21-year-old Chehalis man who faced a charge of vehicular homicide after being involved in a fatal car crash in September was found dead at a Thurston County residence from an apparent drug overdose, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.
Reece Giddings was found dead Thursday, Nov. 12 at a Thurston County residence in the 21000 block of Bucoda Highway Southeast, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said.
While the cause and manner of Giddings’ death are still pending a toxicology report, preliminary findings indicated the death was likely due to a drug overdose, Warnock said.
In August, Giddings was allegedly responsible for a head-on two-car collision on state Route 6 west of Chehalis that killed Erin E. McLeod, 42, and faced a vehicular homicide charge as a result.
A witness of the crash told detectives it appeared as if Giddings eyes were directed at his lap as if he were looking at his phone while driving moments before the crash.
Police suspected drugs or alcohol had played a role in the collision as well.
At Giddings’ Sept. 10 preliminary appearance in Lewis County Superior Court, The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office had requested that he be held on a $500,000 bail.
However, Giddings was released on a $20,000 unsecured bail by Superior Court Judge James Lawler after Giddings’ defense attorney successfully argued that his client would need to undergo substantial medical treatment after the crash, treatment the jail would not be able to provide.
In addition to the criminal charge, Giddings was one of three defendants named in a wrongful death civil suit filed by Dean McLeod, on behalf of Erin McLeod’s estate.
According to court records, McLeod’s estate was seeking more than $5 million from Giddings in damages.