Makah man indicted in fatal December crash

Arraignment set for March 4

SEATTLE - A 21-year-old Makah man has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Summer Anne McCarty, 26, a Makah tribal member in a Dec. 21 car crash on Tsoo-Yess Beach on the Makah Reservation.

Meric Soeneke, 21, Neah Bay was indicted Wednesday and is scheduled for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on March 4, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney Office for the Western District of Washington.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to eight years in prison. It is defined in federal law as “the unlawful killing a human being without malice in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony.”

According to court records, Soeneke was driving at a high rate of speed in the dark on the unlit beach with three others in the vehicle and was under the influence of alcohol when he hit a large tree that had fallen across the beach.

The 26-year-old Makah woman died in the crash, according to the Clallam County Coroner’s Office.

The medical conditions of Soeneke and the other two passengers following the crash were not available.

The indictment states Soeneke was “acting with wanton and reckless disregard for human life.” The case was assigned to Judge Benjamin H. Settle.

Soeneke originally was charged in Makah tribal court and released on bail. When he appears March 4 before United States Magistrate Judge Grady J. Leupold in Tacoma, it will be determined if he can be released from federal custody pending trial and, if so, under what conditions.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Neah Bay Public Safety Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jocelyn Cooney, who serves as a tribal liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington.


Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at

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