SPOKANE, Wash. – A man charged in a traffic accident that killed three Washington State University (search) students has been captured in Ireland (search), four years after he fled to avoid his trial.
Frederick Russell (search), 27, was arrested Sunday by the Irish National Police at a store where he worked in Dublin, U.S. Marshal Michael Kline said. He was working under the alias of David Carroll, Kline said.
The extradition process has already begun but could be lengthy, said Whitman County Deputy Prosecutor Carol LaVerne.
The Marshals Service received a tip about Russell last January, after he was placed on the agency's 15 most-wanted list. After verifying the tip, U.S. officials prepared an extradition request and then had to wait for Irish officials to process the request and for a judge there to sign an arrest warrant, Kline said.
"The last nine months have been nerve-wracking," Kline said. "We knew one leak could have caused Frederick Russell to flee and disappear again."
Prosecutors say Russell was driving an SUV that struck three other cars as it tried to pass vehicles the night of June 4, 2001, between the college towns of Pullman, Wash., and Moscow, Idaho.
Russell was charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, and a test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.12 percent, higher than the legal limit.
Prosecutors say Russell sold some of his collection of baseball cards, took $1,300 from his father's bank account and fled three days before his trial was scheduled to begin.
In a letter to his father and local newspapers after he left, Russell wrote: "Since the first day after the 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."
Russell's father, former head of Washington State's criminal-justice program and a former prosecutor, paid his son's $5,000 bail after the accident but has denied knowing his son planned to flee.
Gregory Russell, now director of the Criminology Department at Arkansas State University (search), did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday. In the past, he has urged his son to come home and face the charges.