ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: vehicular assault

Hospital staff: Crash suspect faked it

Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller rewards crash victim Danika Packard with a free ice cream coupon for wearing her bicycle helmet. (SPD photo)

A former Gonzaga Law School student pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a hit-and-run crash that police say could have killed a 2-year-old girl had she not been wearing a helmet.

Timmy Ngoc Nguyen, 22, is out of jail awaiting trial for charges of vehicular assault and hit and run.
Nguyen is accused of driving his 2003 Honda Element drunk and striking a family riding bicycles on East Maringo Drive.

He was taken to a hospital to get a blood sample and was unresponsive, but staff told deputies they believed “Nguyen had been faking his unresponsiveness,” according to court documents.
“Security had to hold him down to re-secure his restraints,” according to court documents. “Nguyen lunged toward security with his head and tried to bite them. Nguyen was very belligerent, uncooperative, and hostile towards everyone at the hospital.

Witnesses said Nguyen turned westbound onto Maringo from North Argonne Road but entered the eastbound lanes and hit a bicycle trailer carrying Danika Packard.

A witness followed Nguyen back to the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested. Nguyen was at a party there before he left in his Honda and struck the family, police say.

Deputies say Nguyen vomited in the back of the patrol car and appeared extremely intoxicated. He refused to talk to police about what happened but repeatedly asked if he was arrested and told them he was a law student, according to court documents. ”

Nguyen asked sheriff's Deputy Nathan Bohanek if he was going home after they left the hospital. Bohanek said no.

“He told Nguyen he ran over a 2-year-old kid and could have killed them,” documents say. “Nguyen was not responsive to that.”

Police seized Nguyen's Honda and noticed damage consistent with the crash.

Nguyen had been interning for Spokane lawyer Mark Vovos.

Nguyen's trial was scheduled Tuesday for Oct. 22, but that is likely to be postponed.

More witnesses sought in hit and run

Investigators are looking to speak with people who were at a party attended by a man accused of a drunken hit and run crash that injured a 2-year-old girl in Spokane Valley last week.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, was at a party at the clubhouse at the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane before he left in a 2003 Honda Element and alleged struck a family riding bicycles near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road.

Danika Packard was riding in a bicycle trailer that police say was flattened by Nguyen's car. A witness followed Nguyen back to the apartment complex, where he was arrested.

Cpl. Dave Thornburg interviewed the witness and said the man doesn't consider himself a hero, rather “he did what any parent or concerned citizen would do in similar circumstances,” according to a news release.

Thornburg is looking to speak to party goers to learn more about Nguyen's actions before the crash.

“Nobody from the party is in trouble or suspected of committing a crime, as it was not underage drinking party or anything along those lines,” Thornburg wrote.

Thornburg can be reached by phone at (509) 477-2710 and email at dthornburg@spokanesheriff.org.

The girl, who has been rewarded for wearing a bicycle helmet, was released from a hospital Wednesday and is recovery well. Thornburg served two search warrants Thursday, one of the car and another for Nguyen's medical records at Valley hospital. Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, was treated there briefly after he vomited in the back of the patrol car and police noticed labored breathing, according to the news release.

Helmet-wearing girl rewarded w/ treat

Spokane police rewarded a 2-year-old girl hit by a suspected drunken driver Monday with free ice cream for wearing her bicycle helmet.

Police said Tuesday that three new helmets already have been given to Danika Parker to replace the one destroyed Saturday evening after a motorist flattened the bicycle trailer she was riding in in Spokane Valley.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, is accused of driving drunk and hitting the trailer near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road, then driving away. Witnesses followed him to East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested.

Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, faces charges of felony hit and run and vehicular assault.

Police said Danika fractured her skull but is expected to recover.

A picture posted on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday showed the girl with road rash on her cheek but no other obvious injuries. She appeared in good spirits as Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller gave her a coupon for ice cream at McDonald’s.

Law student arrested for hit and run

As a Gonzaga University law student accused of running over a bicycle trailer carrying a 2-year-old girl made his first appearance in court Monday, the victim remained in intensive care at a Spokane hospital.

Timmy Nguyen, who has no criminal record, is to leave jail tonight after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese on charges of hit-and-run and vehicular assault. He’s to stay away from alcohol and is due back in court for an arraignment in early August.

Read the rest of the story here.

Man blows .224 after head-on crash

The Spokane Police Department provided this photo of the crash on the SPD Facebook page.

A 21-year-old Spokane man was arrested for vehicular assault after crashing his truck head-on into a semi truck on Thursday and injuring his passenger.

Joseph A. Hussey's blood-alcohol level registered at .224 before he was jailed on a vehicular assault charge for the crash in the 3900 block of East Broadway Avenue, according to the Spokane Police Department.

The legal limit for driving is .08.

Police say he smelled of intoxicants and told them he was going to home to Spokane Valley from the Satellite bar downtown.

Hussey also slurred his speech and failed field sobriety tests, police say.

He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on the felony charge.

Deer Park man guilty of vehicular assault

Spokane police released this photo of the March 29 crash.

A Deer Park man pleaded guilty today to a hit-and-run crash earlier this year that injured three people in Spokane.

Christopher L. Smith, 52, told Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno that he blacked out when he approached the intersection of Mission Avenue and Greene Street on March 29. The crash took out a light pole and damaged three other cars. One of those drivers suffered a broken leg.

“I remember turning the wheel and I blacked out,” Smith said. “I don't know why I walked away. I think about that every day.”

But Smith came to his senses long enough to ask his ex-wife to tell police that he wasn't driving her car. He was arrested later that day at his Deer Park home.

Spokane County Prosecutors initially charged Smith with vehicular assault and three counts of failure to remain at the scene of an injury accident. As part of the plea bargain, two of the latter charges were dropped.

Moreno sentenced Smith, who had no prior felony convictions, to eight months in jail. She noted that if his story were true — that a blown front tire caused the crash — he likely would have faced a citation.

Drunken crash into house leads to arrest

A woman suspected of drunkenly crashing her car into a house will remain jailed on $7,500 bond, despite her lawyer's claim that she is not a danger to the community.

“Crashing into someone's house doesn't count as a danger to the community?” Judge Annette Plese asked public defender Steve Heintz.

Plese told suspect Angelique P. Sam, 39, that she disagreed with Heintz - someone driving drunk, suicidal and ramming a house is indeed a danger to the community, Plese said.

Heintz had asked for Sam to be released on her own recognizance, saying there was no indication she would put the public at risk.

Sam was arrested Sunday after police responded to a crash near East Foothills and North Standard Street about 4:20 a.m. An officer contacted Sam as she tried to run and noted she had slurred speech and appeared drunk

Police say Sam “had urinated herself, completely covering her groin and leg area,” according to court documents. She admitted to driving drunk, police said.

“I drank a lot and tried to hit the house,” Sam said, according to court documents. “I usually don't drink but I couldn't help myself.”

Sam's passenger, who was injured, told police Sam intentionally crashed into the home.

Sam was involved in a murder trial in 2007 involving her husband, Avery E. Sam, who's now serving 24 1/2 years in prison for murdering the couple's great nephew, who was placed in their home under an agreement between state welfare workers and the Yakama Nation Tribal Court.
  

Woman arrested for vehicular assault

A Spokane woman sentenced to prison on drug charges who went directly to probation was arrested early Saturday for a one-vehicle crash in the Otish Orchards area that injured her passenger.

Deputies believe Jenelle L. Cuculich, 26, was drunk and speeding when she crashed in the area of 24000 East River Road about 12:50 a.m. She and her passenger were taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Cuculich faces a felony charge of vehicular assault.

Cuculich was sentenced to prison last August after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, but she went immediately to probation, according to the DOC. She also was charged in a leading organized crime case last year and arrested with meth in February 2011. She also won $3,000 in the lottery in 2007, according to news archives.

The crash was the second investigated over the weekend. A motorcyclist and a bicyclist died in a crash near the intersection of East Buckeye Avenue and North Dick Road Saturday. Read more here.
  

Dad arrested after crash injures children

A father was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault Monday after a one-car crash that injured his 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in south Spokane County.

Heath Barden, 35, of Cheney, was driving north in the 14000 block of South Murphy Road when his 2004 Mitsubishi Montero left the roadway as he tried to complete a curve, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The car rolled at least twice before coming to a rest on the driver's side. Investigators say the crash scene extended 200 feet, which indicated Barden was driving faster than the 35 mph speed limit.
 
Barden's daughter received only minor injuries, but his son had glass in one of his eyes, and it was swollen shut, the sheriff's office said. Investigators believe Barden had been drinking. 
 
“Child Protection Services was notified of the incident per the recent new law requiring such notification when DUI suspects are arrested with children in the vehicle,” Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release. “The collision is still under investigation.”

Emphasis patrol follows weekend crashes

Crashes that hurt one man and killed another in Spokane last weekend occurred as local authorities are working to emphasize pedestrian safety to motorists.

Emphasis patrols Tuesday and next month in Cheney are part of an ongoing effort in Spokane County to reduce the number of pedestrians injured or killed by motorists each year.

But police say two motorists arrested on felony charges this weekend did more than just fail to yield the right of way.

Read the rest of my story here.

Driver arraigned in wrong-way I90 crash

A Spokane woman who was driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 when she struck and killed 27-year-old Post Falls motorist in March was arraigned today on two felony charges. 

Teri Marie Scheele, 30, told police she had taken an oxycodone pill and “a couple” of hydrocodone pills before the three-car crash on March 25 about 3:10 a.m. at milepost 293 in the eastbound lanes under the Barker Road overpass, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Nov. 4 in Superior Court.

Kenneth Joel Hardin (pictured) was pronounced dead at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Police say Scheele had slurred speech but did not smell of intoxicants. A blood test showed signs of Oxycodone and Hydromorphone use, according to the affidavit.

A Washington State Patrol detective talked to seven people who saw Scheele driving the wrong way on the interstate.

The detective also talked to the driver of the third vehicle, Andrew R. Samek, 37, of Hayden, who, despite initial reports that he wasn't injured, suffered a broken neck when he struck Hardin's 1989 Mazda MX6 coupe while trying to avoid the crash then hit a cable barrier, documents say.

Scheele pleaded not guilty today to vehicular homicide and vehicula assault. She's out of custody awaiting trial, which her public defender, Derek Reid, said is scheduled to begin Feb. 13.

Trooper passed wrong-way I-90 driver

A wrong-way driver accused of injuring two people in a freeway crash early Sunday passed a state trooper just before the 3:34 a.m. crash

Eric Edward McElmurry, 28, was allowed to leave jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on vehicular assault charges.

Trooper Falkner was westbound on Interstate 90 east of Liberty Lake when McElmurry passed him going eastbound in the neighboring westbound lane, according to a probable cause affidavit. Falkner tried to stop him, but McElmurry's 1999 Mercury Mystic crashed head-on into a 2006 Mercury Mariner driven by Tabatha B. Dudley, 22, of Spokane Valley, police said.

Dudley was injured, along with passengers Danielle L. Cowan, 23, of Coeur d'Alene, and Zachary O'Reilly, 25, of Spokane, who both suffered broken bones; McElmurry was treated at a hospital before being booked into jail.

Troopers say McElmurry smelled of alcohol and began to vomit when he woke up in the emergency room. McElmurry said he'd drank alcohol at a party near Altamont and at a home in Cheney. He said he drank six or seven beers beginning around 9:30 p.m. and “admitted that his ability to drive was affected by his alcohol usage.”

McElmurry told troopers he believed he got onto the freeway at Freya Street and said he had no idea he was driving the wrong way.

“The defendant was upset that other people had been injured and started crying,” accoridng to the affidavit

Driver who hit trooper wanted for DUI

A Spokane man who injured a state trooper in a crash on Interstate 90 three years ago is wanted on a felony drunken driving charge.

William David Zink, 32, was charged last month, nearly one year after a sheriff's deputy pulled him over for speeding on East Broadway Avenue and observed slurred speech, poor balance and the smell of alcohol.

Zink failed sobriety tests and provided breath samples that showed blood-alcohol levels of .202 and .189, according to court documents. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Zink was sentenced to 15 months in prison for causing a car crash in August 2008 that injured state Trooper Allen Larned and a driver who had been stopped by Larned. Having a felony conviction for vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while intoxicated means any future drunken driving arrests are felony cases.

Crime Stoppers offered a reward Monday for tips that lead to the arrest of Zink, whose criminal hsitory includes convictions for reckless driving, driving while license suspended, vehicular assault, violation of a court order, failure to cooperate, first-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree theft, third-degree theft, domestic violence assault and DUI.

Zink, 5-foot-11 and 145 pounds, last gave a home address in the 7600 block of East Broadway in Spokane Valley.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Mother charged in crash disappearance

Police say a Spokane mother who caused a car crash last month removed her injured child from the scene before medics arrived because she feared getting in trouble.

Tamika L. Hill, 28, appeared in Superior Court Thursday on a second-degree criminal mistreatment charge and two counts of vehicular assault for a June 27 crash at North Ralph Street and East Upriver Drive that injured her passenger, Andrew Neil Powell, and her young daughter, identified by the initials T.W.

A woman who witnessed the crash said she arrived to find Powell unconscious and bleeding, but Hill repeatedly asked her not to call the police, according to court documents.

The woman said the inside of Hill's Ford Escort smelled like alcohol and that Hill called someone to pick up her daughter.

The woman pleaded with Hill to keep her daughter at the scene because she appeared to be injured, but Hill refused “saying that she could get in trouble,” according to court documents. The child was driven from the scene by an unknown person, the woman told police.

Hill didn't tell responding officers that her daughter was involved in the crash but police later contacted the child and learned she'd been treated for minor injuries at Holy Family Hospital.

Last year, Hill was watching a woman's three children when she left them with a neighbor, causing an argument with their mother that led to a stabbing. Read more here.

Hit-and-run victim dies of heart attack

A north Spokane man who was injured in June by a hit-and-run driver died of a heart attack Wednesday

Dennis Widener was struck while out exercising on his bicycle at Division Street and Garland Avenue about 5:45 a.m. on June 23.

He was hospitalized at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center with broken ribs and other injuries and then transferred to St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

The collision was the subject of a story in Wednesday's edition of The Spokesman-Review.

Spokane police said they had little evidence to solve the felony case other than a vague vehicle description, possibly a brown Toyota Avalon.

Anyone with information should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
  

Woman wanted for vehicular assault

A woman is wanted for vehicular assault after Spokane police said she crashed her car, injuring her passenger, then asked an officer, “Can I leave my car like that?”

Michelle R. Purkey, 47, smelled of alcohol when police responded to a crash at North Crestline Street and East Illinois Avenue about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 5.

Purkey's Ford Escort crashed into a power pole, and her passenger, Louis Austin, suffered a broken nose, broken teeth, broken arm, two broken ankles and a fractured pelvis, according to court documents.

Police said Purkey admitted to drinking but was argumentative and said she was leaving before her arrest.

Purkey was to report to jail for booking after her arrangement, but she never did, leading to an arrest warrant that calls for her to be held without bail. Purkey last gave an address in the 700 block of West Maxwell Avenue in Spokane.

Anyone with information on her current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Judges uphold Russell’s convictions

Appellate judges on Tuesday upheld the vehicular homicide convictions against Frederick Russell, who was convicted in 2007 of killing three Washington State University students and seriously injuring three others in a drunken crash a decade ago on the highway that connects Moscow and Pullman.

 However, the Division III Court of Appeals will return the case to Superior Court Judge David Frazier so that Russell can be given credit for the time he served incarcerated in Ireland as attorneys fought for his extradition back to the U.S. to stand trial.

Russell had fled the country through Canada to avoid prosecution of the case.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Charge filed in head-on South Hill crash

A 41-year-old Spokane woman has been charged with vehicular assault for a crash on the South Hill last summer that severely injured her and the other driver.

Maxine Kristen Tindle pleaded not guilty last week for a head-on collision that injured Molly P. Sutor at 1600 Southeast Boulevard on Sept. 20.

Both women were rushed to the hospital with what police described as life-threatening injuries. Sutor, who was northbound when southbound Tindle crossed the center line, fractured an ankle, punctured a lung and lacerated her liver and spleen. She suffers from long-term disabilities that affect her vision and mobility.

Tindle's fiance told police she was coming from a doctors appointment and shopping trip and may have “overdone it and exhausted herself.” But police say Tindle's blood sample showed methamphetamine in her system at the time of the crash, along with medications legally prescribed to her.

Spokane police Cpl. Dave Adams said in court documents that Tindle has a history of blackouts “due to her physical ailments” as well as a history of muscle spasms.

Tindle is represented by the Spokane County Public Defender's Office. Trial is scheduled to begin June 13.

Vehicular homicide trial delayed till May

The second trial for a Spokane stockbroker accused of killing a woman in a car crash has been postponed until May 31.

A car technician recently downloaded data from Jon Strine's 2002 Mercedes that could regard speed and other information. Some of the information has been provided to Strine's lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, and Mercedes' legal department is deciding who can testify in court regarding the information, said Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady.

Strine's first trial ended in a bizarre mistrial after jurors said they'd reached a not guilty verdict but six said they disagreed during polling.

Strine is charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular for the June 2, 2009 crashed that killed motorcycle passenger Lorri Keller paralyzed the driver, her husband, Gary Keller.

Past coverage:

Feb. 4: Strine says he wasn't drunk during fatal crash

Jan. 21: Husband recounts fatal crash

Driver gets 33 mos. for crash w/ police

A Spokane woman who ran a red light and crashed into three police detectives last summer was sentenced to nearly three years in prison.

Tonia S. Vansant, 38, is to spend 33 months behind bars for the July 16 crash that seriously injured Spokane police Detectives Mark Burbridge, Jan Pogachar and Douglas Orr, Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque ruled Wednesday.

Burbridge was driving an unmarked patrol car when Vansant ran a red light at Division Street and Sharp Avenue and t-boned the car.

Vansant had traces of cocaine in her blood system.

A jury convicted her in December.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Sirens & Gavels.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here