PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A Pierce County judge sentenced a man to 20 years in prison for running over and killing a 68-year-old man in a Jack-in-the-Box drive-thru. Detectives called it a case of mistaken identity.
"I still feel numb ... hollow inside from losing the love of my life," said Sheri Brown, wife of the man who was killed. "It's like my heart was ripped out of my body that night..."
Deputies say on Feb. 26, surveillance footage shows 68-year-old James "David" Brown and his wife, Sheri, pull up to the drive-thru around 6:28 p.m. The 22-year-old suspect, Christian Dressel, is seen on footage pulling up immediately behind them, skipping the order box. The suspect then bumps into the Browns' car three times, court documents say.
Christian Dressel (FOX 13 Seattle)
Investigators believe that the suspect mistook the victim's white truck for a different white truck that he saw near his girlfriend's home and began to follow it.
Both David and Sheri then got out of their vehicle, and David went over to the suspect.
Sheri told detectives heard the suspect yell something to the effect of, "tell your f------ boyfriend to stay away from my girl!" She went around their truck to find her husband, but couldn't.
Photo of David Brown
Detectives said at that point, David was under the suspect's vehicle and had been run over three times. Witnesses and Sheri told detectives the suspect's vehicle pulled forward and reversed several times.
"That’s when the driver turned his wheels and ran over the victim," said Pierce County Sgt. Darren Moss. "At that point – it was one thing to run him over – but he decided to stop and reverse over him again before taking off."
The suspect then reverses and speeds off onto Mountain Highway E., surveillance video shows and witnesses confirmed.
Sheri said that she had never seen the car before and didn't know why this could have happened. Detectives said there is no connection between the Browns, Dressel, or his girlfriend.
On Feb. 28, the suspect's mother called 911 to report that her son admitted to the mother of his child that he had killed someone and left the scene.
Dressel was arrested on March 1 without incident. At the time of the arrest, deputies were unable to find the suspect vehicle—a white 2007 Chrysler Pacifica, Washington license plate BXG3641.
Authorities believed it the SUV may have been sold to a junk car hauler business. Deputies found the vehicle shortly after.
On Oct. 5, a judge sentenced Dressel to 220 months for murder, plus a 24 month deadly weapon enhancement.