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Kirkland man pleads guilty to DUI crash that killed 2 teens

A Kirkland man who was drunk when his SUV rear-ended a stalled Honda Civic, killing two teens on the eve of their high-school graduation last year, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of vehicular homicide.

Alexander Peder, 50, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent — twice the legal limit — when his SUV slammed into the teens’ disabled car in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Southcenter on June 9. A half-empty bottle of vodka, purchased hours earlier, was found inside Peder’s vehicle, authorities said.

Killed were Decatur High School students Nicholas Hodgins and Derek King, both 18. Anthony Beaver, 19, was injured.

Peder’s arrest violated the terms of a 2008 plea agreement in anther DUI case. In that case, he had been allowed to plead guilty to reckless endangerment, a reduced charge, and receive a one-year suspended sentence, King County prosecutors said.

Peder faces up to 8 1/2 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 25, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. Prosecutors will recommend that Peder receive a high-end sentence, Donohoe said.

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