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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Charges dropped against driver in golf cart crash that killed Spokane police officer

Spokane police Officer Jeff McCollough, pictured in 2009, died in a July golf cart crash in Bonner County, Idaho.  (COURTESY OF SPD)

Charges were dropped late last month against the 57-year-old woman who crashed a golf cart last summer near Priest Lake killing a Spokane police officer and injuring three others.

Julie Nikkola had been charged in October with vehicular manslaughter and four counts of aggravated driving under the influence.

Nikkola, Spokane police officers Jeffery Barrington and Jeffery McCollough along with McCollough’s wife, Trina McCollough, and passenger James Allen were in a golf cart at about 9:30 p.m. July 15 when they crashed near West Lakeshore Road and Luby Bay Road in Bonner County, according to court documents.

McCollough, 52, was pronounced dead on scene.

Nikkola admitted to having two alcoholic drinks before driving, according to court documents. Investigators wrote they could smell alcohol on Nikkola’s breath. Her breath tests showed an alcohol level of 0.078 and 0.077 more than three hours after the incident and a blood test showed her alcohol level was a 0.091, according to court documents.

Nikkola made her initial appearance on the charges in November, when she was released on her own recognizance with required drug testing. Her preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 7, according to court documents.

On Dec. 5, Daniel Rodriguez, Bonner County chief deputy prosecuting attorney, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Nikkola without prejudice, meaning the charges could be refiled at a later date.

The motion to dismiss does not include prosecutors’ reasoning.

“At this time, the State does not wish to proceed in further prosecution of this matter,” the motion reads.

A judge signed an order dismissing the case the next day.

Rodriguez did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday. Nikkola’s attorney, Joseph Sullivan, also did not immediately respond to request for comment.

McCollough’s death was a shock to the Spokane Police Department, according to a statement released at the time of the crash.

“The loss is understandably shocking and heart-wrenching for the friends and family of Jeff, as well as SPD as a whole,” the statement said. “Jeff was a beloved colleague and dedicated public servant.”

Barrington has since retired from the Spokane Police Department.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct where McCollough died. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. It has also been updated to correct Barrington’s employment status.