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Fred russell1

Frederick Russell

Real Name: Frederick David Russell
Aliases: No Known Aliases
Wanted For: Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Assault
Missing Since: October 26, 2001

CaseEdit

Details: On the night of June 4, 2001, twenty-two-year-old Washington University junior Frederick Russell was seen drinking at a bar with his friend Jacob in Pullman, Washington. At approximately 10:15PM, they left in Russell's Chevy Blazer. The two men headed towards Moscow, Idaho, using State Road 270, a seven mile and two lane highway that connects the two college towns. At one point during the drive, Russell came upon a slow moving vehicle in front of him. Even though it was a no passing zone, he illegally tried to go around the car at nearly ninety miles per hour. He then struck a Geo Prism going in the opposite direction, and then a Cadallic carrying seven college students. Three of those college students, Brandon Clements, his best friend Ryan Sorensen, and Ryan's girlfriend Stacy Morrow, were killed in the crash. Matt Wagner and the other three students survived with serious injuries. The occupants of the Prism, along with Russell and his friend, received only minor injuries.

Fred Russell Victims

(clockwise from top left) Brandon Clemens, Ryan Sorenson, Matt Wagner, and Stacey Morrow

Russell was taken to the local hospital. Two hours after the crash his blood alcohol level was tested. Tests showed that his level was .12, over the legal limit of .08. He was then put under arrest for vehicular homicide/assault. Stacy Morrow's father Rich became the spokesperson for the victim's families and said that learning of his daughter's death was the worst moment of his life. According to Fred Russell's father Greg, Fred was very upset over the accident, but was released on just a $5,000 bond; according to Rich, the low amount was an insult to the families and friends of the victims. Russell was even allowed to drive to and from work. Rich believes that Greg's standing in the community led to the low bail amount and restrictions.
Public anger began to arise as Russell's defense prepared their case. First, they filed a motion that disputed the blood alcohol findings. Next, they claimed that Russell may have not been responsible for the accident. According to Greg, toxicology reports for the driver of the Cadallic indicated that drugs and alcohol were in his system. He also claimed that reports on the other victims indicated that drugs and alcohol were also found in their systems. Prosecutor Ann Shannon, however, claimed that there was nothing found in the victims' systems that contributed to the accident.
Greg claimed that his son was receiving several death threats, including one that claimed he would not live to spend time in prison. There were court appearances all summer, and Russell attended them all. However, on October 26, 2001, the day of the pre-trial hearing where Fred Russell was supposed to plead guilty to the charges, he did not show up, and had apparently fled the day earlier.
Shortly after he vanished, Russell sent several letters to a local newspaper and to his father Greg, that, in part, said "I left because I had no choice. Since the first day after that tragic accident, horrible things have been printed about me. Now people are so enraged that they would rather see me dead than receive a fair trial. I maintain my innocence. But my life has been repeatedly threatened, so I cannot stay." Authorities believe that because his passport is missing, Russell may be in Canada or Costa Rica, or in the Western United States, and that someone is helping him stay on the run. The victims' family members just want Russell to turn himself in and face the charges.

Frederick russell

Russell after his arrest

Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the July 1, 2002 episode. Russell was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. In October of 2005, Fred Russell was arrested in Dublin, Ireland after a man recognized his picture after the US Marshals placed him on their most wanted list. At the time, he was working as a security guard at a clothing store. In 2006, he was extradited back to the United States. In November of 2007, he was convicted of three counts of vehicular homicide and assault. He was sentenced to 14 years and 3 months in prison. Russell was released in April of 2015.
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