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Steve Lacey

Google engineer Steve Lacey, 43, a veteran of the Seattle region’s tech community who worked for more than a decade at Microsoft, died Sunday in a car crash in Kirkland.

KING 5 News reports that that Lacey was the victim of a road rage incident in which he hadn’t been involved. A widely respected software engineer who often displayed his sense of humor on his well-read blog, Lacey had two children, ages 5 and 7. He and his wife had recently celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Lacey, who received his master’s in software engineering in his native U.K., moved to Redmond in 1997 from London, two years after the 3D graphics startup where he worked was acquired by Microsoft. His online bio describes his work at Microsoft and demonstrates his passion for technology.

Steve led feature teams on Flight Simulator 2000, Combat Flight Simulator 2, Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX, as well as finding time along the way to run the development team at a new studio; work on a bunch of Xbox stuff including Munch’s Oddysee, NFL Fever and Crimson Skies; build a game engine and scripting engine/language completely from scratch and generally get his fingers into a lot of incredibly interesting pies.

Lacey left Microsoft in January 2006 to start SwitchGear software with another former Microsoftie, Joe Stacy. Later that year, Lacey joined Google’s Kirkland office.

“The food was too good to be ignored,” he explained in his bio.

He also worked briefly at Facebook last year, according to his Google+ profile, but he had been working most recently at Google, focusing on Chrome video.

In the incident Sunday afternoon, state troopers told KING-5 that the driver of a Hyundai Sonata lost control, rolled and crashed into a BMW being driven by Lacey on NE 85th Street. The Hyundai driver had exited Interstate 405 at high speed in pursuit of another car that the Hyundai driver says cut him off on the freeway. KING reports that investigators believe the Hyundai driver had been drinking.

Update: Robert Scoble remembers Lacey in this post.

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