Real Name: Frederick David Russell
Wanted For: Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Assault
Missing Since: October 26, 2001
Case[edit | edit source]
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. They headed towards Moscow, Idaho, using State Road 270, a seven mile and two lane highway that connects the two 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 it at nearly ninety miles per hour. He struck a Geo Prism going in the opposite direction, and then a Cadallic carrying seven college students. Three of them, 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 Jacob, received only minor injuries.
Russell was taken to the local hospital. Two hours after the crash his blood alcohol level was tested. Tests showed that it was .12, over the legal limit of .08. He was then put under arrest for vehicular homicide/assault. Stacy's father, Rich, became the spokesperson for the victim's families and said that learning of her death was the worst moment of his life. According to Russell's father, Greg, he 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 victims' families and friends. 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 Russell 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 he attended them all. However, on October 26, 2001, the day of the pre-trial hearing where he 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 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, he 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' families just want him to turn himself in and face the charges.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the July 1, 2002 episode. It was also profiled on America's Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. In October 2005, 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 and living under the alias of David Carroll. In 2006, he was extradited back to the United States. In November 2007, he was convicted of three counts of vehicular homicide and assault. He was sentenced to 14 years and 3 months in prison. He was released in April 2015.
- Frederick Russell on Unsolved Archive
- Professor pleads guilty to helping fugitive
- Irish Police Arrest U.S. Marshals' 15 Most Wanted
- Man Sought in Fatal Auto Accident Captured in Ireland
- Man sought in 2001 fatal auto accident captured in Ireland
- Man sought in 4-year-old fatal auto accident captured in Ireland
- Fugitive's bail jumping charge to be dropped
- After years in Ireland, man heads to trial
- Fred Russell found guilty
- Russell sentenced to 14 years in prison for accident that killed three WSU students
- Stiffer sentences sought in drunken-driving deaths
- Russell fights conviction, term
- Fred Russell, convicted of killing three WSU students, released from prison
- Fred Russell released from prison after nearly 8 years
- Mother of victim on Fred Russell's early release: 'It was a slap in the face'
- Stacy Morrow, Ryan Sorensen, and Brandon Clements on Find a Grave