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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.

Spokane Mulls Bike Helmet Law

Item: County considers bicycle helmet law: Panel to draft ordinance, plans public hearing/John Craig, SR

More Info: County commissioners agreed Tuesday to consider a bicycle helmet ordinance. Users of skateboards, roller skates and scooters also might be required to wear helmets in unincorporated portions of Spokane County. Commissioners plan to draft an ordinance and schedule a public hearing after receiving more information from the Spokane Regional Health District and the city of Spokane, which adopted a helmet law in 2004.

Question: Should bike helmets be required in Idaho, too?

Hucks Poll: Yes To Bike Helmets

  • Tuesday’s Poll: 75 of 137 respondents (54.74%) voted that children under 16 years old should be required to wear helmets when riding bikes. 57 of 137 (41.61%) said they shouldn’t be required to do so. 5 were undecided.
  • Demari DeReu: A whopping 93.16% (177 of 190 respondents) agreed with the decision by the Columbia Falls School Board not to expel honor student/cheerleader Demari DeRue for accidentally bringing her hunting rifle to her NW Montana school. Only 11 of 190 (5.79%) voted that she should be expelled. 2 were undecided.
  • Today’s Question (which allows multiple answers): Which of the following social networking are you involved in (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?

HBO Poll: GOP Purity Test Is Turn Off

  • HBO Poll: A whopping 75% of you Merry Hucksters (106 of 142) said you’d be less likely to vote for a candidate who took a loyalty oath, pledging to support the platform of the Idaho Republican Party. Only 20 of 142 (14%) said you’d be more likely to support a candidate who took such an oath. 16 of 142 (11%) were undecided.
  • Elena Kagan Poll: 59 of 109 (54%) said you don’t want to see the U.S. Senate confirm Elena Kagan as the next Supreme Court justice. 42 of 109 (39%) said you do want to see her confirmed. 8 of 109 (7%) were undecided.
  • Militia Poll: 93 of 162 (57%) said they didn’t want to see the state of Idaho form an all-volunteer militia (an idea supported by a committee at the GOP convention last weekend in Idaho Falls but not endorsed by the full group). 66 of 162 (41%) said they would like to see Idaho form a militia. (I forgot to give the results for this poll Friday).
  • Today’s Question: Do you wear a helmet while riding a bicycle?