Local news

Bonner sheriff admits hitting, leaving parked car without report

Bonner County’s top cop has acknowledged that she hit a parked car in Sandpoint last month, then left the scene without reporting it.

Sheriff Elaine Savage says she got out of her patrol car to check for damage to the other car after backing into it about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 7, didn’t see any and left.

But Debra Reichart, of Kootenai, the owner of the 2006 Honda Pilot struck by Savage’s car, called police to report damage to her rear bumper.

A dispatcher called Savage to tell her of the claim, and Savage said she returned immediately to the scene, at 711 W. Main St. Now the county will pay Reichart nearly $800. .

“In hindsight, I should have left my business card,” Savage said Thursday. “I’ve been in law enforcement for a lot of years and I just thought there’s no damage, so I just left. If I had a do-over, certainly I’d do it differently.”

Reichart’s claim against the county includes a body shop estimate of $772.92 to repair the rear bumper.

Savage described the collision as very minor, comparing it to tapping another car while parallel parking.

“It’s not like I was backing up at 100 miles an hour or anything,” she said. But “I don’t mean to joke about it. It’s her vehicle and it’s damaged, and it’s my obligation to make it right for her.”

The county will cover the damages to Reichart’s car, Savage said, because the sheriff was driving a county vehicle at the time.

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