Hit & Run Suspect Pleads Not Guilty


KING COUNTY - Walter High died on November 2, as he was leaving a club. He was standing next to the driver's side of a SUV and talking to friends when witnesses say a car doing what seemed like 60 mph plowed into him.

High's body went right through the windshield of the car. He was embedded in the glass.

Witnesses say the car never slowed down.

Troy Hagen, 29, was in court Thursday and he pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and felony hit and run.

Police say Hagen drove four blocks before he finally "removed High's body from the windshield" and left the 47-year-old father and disabled Army vet lying in the road.

Fighting back tears, Esther Jones sat in court and tried to stare down the man accused of killing her fiance.

"They have a daughter together," said Dave Babcock, the High family attorney. "Esther seems strong, she was able to sit in court, she wanted to be here, see what was going on. Obviously it's very difficult."

In an interview this week, Walter's brother told KOMO 4 News he'd made up his mind about what should happen to Hagen.

"He needs to be put in jail for life, taking someone's life for no reason," said his brother.

It was difficult for Hagen's parents, too. They sat quietly, just a row ahead of Walter High's family. Their son has no criminal record. They watched him stand before the judge wearing a red jail jumpsuit and handcuffs.

His attorney John Henry Browne claims Hagen didn't know what he hit.

"He just feels awful, he's on suicide watch in the jail," said Browne. "He feels awful just as anyone would who kills somebody in a traffic accident."

Browne said at first, Hagen thought it was a duffle bag. He insists he didn't leave the body in the road, and said Hagen had no choice but to leave the scene. He says he drove 12 blocks before he could call 911.

"He tried to call the police immediately. He was in a dead zone, by that I mean cell phone," said Browne. "I think cell phone records will back that up."

Police say Hagen was high on meth and it took him 22 minutes to call 911.

His bail was reduced from $300,000 to $75,000 Thursday and the judge is allowing him to live with his grandparents under electronic home detention while he awaits trial.