A Spokane woman died after a driver ran a red light and struck her SUV on Tuesday night in north Spokane, according to Spokane police.
A Spokane police officer was near Indiana Avenue and Washington Street at about 8:30 p.m. when he heard a car crash, said Spokane police Cpl. Nick Briggs.
The officer arrived at the intersection moments later to find a two-car crash with one of the drivers “significantly injured,” Briggs said.
The officer provided first aid to the driver, Tamara Wollander, 63, until medical personnel arrived. Wollander was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center where she later died from her injuries, according to court documents.
Major Crimes detectives were called to the scene. Witnesses told investigators that a northbound Acura sedan driven by Tyrell M. Hemphill, 21, on Washington Street appeared to be speeding when he ran a red light and hit Wollander’s SUV.
Witnesses and investigators estimated Hemphill’s speed at 60 mph, according to court documents. The speed limit on Washington is 30 mph.
Video footage from Dolly’s Cafe showed Wollander, who had a green light, westbound on Indiana make a right turn onto Washington. Almost immediately after she turned, Hemphill sped through the red light and hit Wollander’s car, just out of view of the camera, according to court documents.
Hemphill told police he was trying to beat the yellow light, according to court documents. Initially he declined to be transported to the hospital despite having knee pain, according to court records. He told police he takes an anti-seizure medication for epilepsy and had used marijuana the night before crash but had not used any the day of the incident.
An investigator asked Hemphill to do some field sobriety testing, which Hemphill said he couldn’t do due to pain in his knee.
The officer obtained a search warrant for Hemphill’s blood, which was drawn after he was taken to Multicare Deaconess Hospital to be treated for his injuries from the crash.
After his release from the hospital, Hemphill was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and booked into the Spokane County Jail.
Hemphill has several speeding tickets and a couple citations for misdemeanor driving without a license from late last year and early this year. Hemphill declined a jail interview request from The Spokesman-Review.
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