The Seattle man who struck a Volkswagen Beetle, killing two Seaside residents in April 2013 was found guilty Friday night for two counts of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault, unlawful possession of heroin, driving under the influence of intoxicants and recklessly endangering another person.
Sterling Maxwell Frinell, 40, was driving a 1999 Subaru Impreza while under the influence of methamphetamine, opiates and oxycodone when he crossed the centerline on Highway 101 in Warrenton. He collided with a northbound 1974 Volkswagen Bug, driven by city of Seaside employee Mark Agalzoff, 52, and his 20-year-old male passenger from Seaside, Tryg Walker McCord.
Agalzoff, a utility worker, and McCord, a Clatsop Community College student, were both killed in the accident.
Family and friends of Agalzoff and McCord, including McCord’s parents Larry and Ruby McCord, were at the Clatsop County Circuit Court courtroom Friday to hear the final arguments and verdict. The jury deliberated for nearly seven hours until the decision was reached late Friday night.
Frinell, who had a suspended Washington license, was driving from Longview, Wash., just before 7 p.m. April 19, 2013, with his longtime girlfriend, Margaret E. Goldman, 33. Both were seriously injured in the head-on crash and transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital, then Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where they were treated and released.
Frinell’s defense attorney Ryan Connell questioned the way two urine samples were administered and other conflicting reports, but ultimately the jury ruled against his arguments.
“What happened was tragic. There is no getting around that,” Connell said. “Just because it’s tragic, doesn’t make it criminal.”
Prosecutor Beau Peterson said the circumstances and Frinell’s demeanor proved the case was not just a tragic accident, but was in fact manslaughter. Frinell seemed intoxicated and not concerned after the crash, according to the responding personnel.
“The paramedic came over and said ‘You killed two people.’ The defendant said ‘I killed two people? How is my dog?,’ Peterson said. “Pets are very important, but he killed two people and seriously injured his girlfriend, and he’s asking about his dog.”
A dog, described as a pit-bull mix, was in the Subaru at the time of the crash. It survived.
Judge Cindee Matyas oversaw the four-day trial in Courtroom 100.