27-year-old Issaquah man dies in Hobart Road rollover
June 9, 2009
By Kathleen R. Merrill
A 27-year-old Issaquah man died late June 5 near the church where he was baptized when his sport-utility vehicle veered off the road and rolled several times in the 10100 block of Issaquah-Hobart Road.Christopher M. Leslie died at the accident scene from head injuries, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Witnesses who called police after the accident told officers they saw the vehicle moving at high speed and then crash. Officers arrived at the scene at about 11:25 p.m. There were no passengers in the vehicle, a maroon 1999 Subaru Forester.
Flowers adorned a makeshift memorial at the scene, on the east shoulder of Issaquah-Hobart Road, in the days following the accident. Rutted vehicle tracks were visible in the grass nearby. The accident occurred within sight of Foothills Baptist Church, where Leslie was baptized twice.
“He was that guy that everyone liked,” his girlfriend, Shanna Massey, said June 8. “He was very charismatic and good hearted.”
Leslie worked at a moving and storage company with his dad, his sister Diane Orriolo said.
“He’s worked there since he was about 4, since he was big enough to carry anything,” she said.
Leslie lived in Issaquah for most of his life. He attended Maple Hills Elementary, Maywood Middle and Liberty High schools. His last academic year at Liberty was 1996-97, but he graduated in California in 2000.
“He loved fishing, camping and being an uncle to my kids, Ava, 2, and Jefry, 2 months,” Orriolo said.
Police said alcohol and speed appeared to be factors in the accident. The posted speed limit along that stretch of Issaquah-Hobart Road is 35 mph. Obtaining toxicology results — including blood-alcohol content — will take several weeks.
“There was evidence of alcohol consumption in the car,” Issaquah Police Cmdr. Stan Conrad said.
He said Leslie was not wearing his seat belt.
Massey and Orriolo said they thought others prematurely formed a conclusion about the cause of the crash.
“It’s nobody’s business, and it’s alleged right now,” Orriolo said. “We won’t have toxicology results back for eight to 10 weeks.”
Massey recalled her boyfriend as a careful driver.
“Something drastic had to have happened for him to run off the road,” she said. “I’ve driven with him a lot. He used to coach me about driving, driving on ice, what to do when you see a deer.”
The women also objected to how Leslie was portrayed in several Web posts.
“I think the media is always sensationalizing things,” Massey said. “It hasn’t been fair to the family and friends to say he deserved it. It’s inappropriate and offensive. I think people should keep those things to themselves.”
Issaquah Police are working with the Washington State Patrol to further investigate the crash.
“He died right in front of our church,” Orriolo said. “Everyone has a destiny. You can’t fight death.”
Leslie’s family members said they want people to know who he was, not just how he died.
“We want them to know how much he truly loved life and people,” Orriolo said.
Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at ext. 234 or email@example.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.