BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Tristen Naryan Florence, age 25, of Ferndale was sentenced in Whatcom County Superior Court on April 29th to 18 months in prison followed by 18 months in community custody after pleading guilty to 1 count of vehicular homicide while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. He had been out of custody since August 8, 2018, after posting a $150,000 bond.
About 10pm on June 28, 2018, Florence, age 21 at the time, was the driver of a black 2000 Volkswagen Passat that was northbound on I-5 between the Portal Way and Grandview Road interchanges traveling at a high rate of speed while weaving through traffic when it crashed and ended up in the median after rolling several times.
Florence and the passenger, an 18-year-old Ferndale woman, were both transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center in critical condition. It was reported at the time the woman had not been wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle during the crash. On July 1st, it was reported she had died.
The standard sentencing range was between 86 and 114 months in custody according to court documents. Prosecutors sought a sentence of 114 months while the defense, pointing to Florence’s age at the time of the crash, asked the court for an exceptional sentence of 48 months.
According to a court document, the sentence issued was 96 months, but the same document clarifies the “actual total confinement ordered” to be 18 months.
Florence is also required to pay over $4,700 in fines and fees.
An insurance company that made payments for the benefit of the victim’s family and estate filed a suit in Whatcom County Superior Court against Florence last year ordering him to pay restitution of the amount of those payments.