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Boy Watches Father Killed By Hit-Run Driver Car Runs Over Man After Motorcycle Goes Down With Flat Tire On Interstate 90

Tue., Aug. 12, 1997, midnight

A motorcyclist is dead, struck by a hit-and-run driver while his 10-year-old son watched.

The driver hasn’t been found, and authorities have few leads.

Robert V. Skaggs and his son were returning Sunday evening from a day at Silverwood Theme Park. At about 9:15 p.m., their rear tire went flat. The Harley-Davidson they were riding went down on its side, and a car following them stopped too late - running over Skaggs, 33, on Interstate 90 four miles east of Sprague, Wash.

The son, Nick H. Skaggs, was brought to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment of scrapes and bruises, a police report said. He was sitting up and talking Monday morning, and was released by afternoon.

The grieving family wants the driver found. “I know this is important to Nick,” said a family member at the hospital who didn’t give her name.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Skaggs lived in Illinois but had been working west of Cle Elum Lake in Easton, Wash., on a construction job. His son was visiting him.

The driver of the car apparently stopped, got out, looked at the scene and drove away. The boy and a nearby truck driver told police the car was a small, red four-door. The trucker said it was “the size and shape of a Nissan.”

“We don’t have a real clear witness,” said WSP Sgt. Chris Powell. Skaggs’ son said the car had red, white and blue license plates. They may have been Idaho plates, Powell said.

He wants anyone who knows anything about the incident to call the State Patrol at 456-4101. Even if it’s just a hunch.

“A car parked someplace else, Lord only knows,” Powell said. “We sent it out statewide. There are always those one-in-a-million cases in police work. Maybe (the driver) stopped at a gas station to clean it up.”

About all the evidence troopers have is a shred of denim cloth believed to be Skaggs’. He was dressed in a leather jacket, boots and blue jeans, Powell said. The cloth was found where the trucker told troopers the red car stopped along the freeway, about 100 yards west of the wreck.

Both Skaggs and the car that killed him were heading west. The motorcycle “had a really, really worn tire, the cords were showing,” Powell said.

The Harley fell on its right side in the right lane. It slid into the left lane. Skaggs landed in the right lane, while his son was thrown clear.

Then came the red car.

Skaggs died there, from massive head injuries.

The Harley belonged to a friend of Skaggs’, Powell said. Skaggs’ own motorcycle broke down Saturday night, on the way to Silverwood. So he and Nick stayed with a friend in Ritzville who loaned Skaggs a different motorcycle to ride to Idaho on Sunday.

Investigators say the driver had to know about hitting the man. The car left skid marks, Powell said, showing the driver tried to brake.

Powell said it would “make it easier on everyone” if the driver found troopers first, rather than waiting to be found by them.

“We hope the driver chooses not to compound the problem and calls us.”

, DataTimes

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