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

‘None of it makes sense’: Family of woman killed in Spokane Valley hit and run worries teen driver won’t be held accountable

Kimberly Allen, center, is pictured with two of her sons and her granddaughter. She was killed while crossing the street in January.  (Courtesy of Autumn Smith)

Kimberly Allen was walking back to her boyfriend’s Spokane Valley home with a bag full of groceries for the next morning’s breakfast when a pickup struck and killed her, severing one of her legs.

The 16-year-old who allegedly drove the pickup and fled the scene on Jan. 27 was booked into Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center last month and charged with failure to remain at the scene of a fatal crash. He has since been released, and his case remains in juvenile court .

The potential outcome of the case against the driver doesn’t sit well with the victim’s family, who say they are angry, saddened and confused by the process and what they view as a lack of consequences for the teenager.

“Accidents come with consequences,” one of Allen’s children, Autumn Smith, said in a telephone conversation while en route back to her home in Vancouver. “My family is the only one paying these consequences right now.”

Allen, 57, spent much of her life working and raising her children in the Inland Northwest. Her first job was in Lewiston at a nursery where she cultivated a green thumb and a love for plants. She later worked in health care as a certified nursing assistant, her family said. She left Spokane to live with her daughters in Vancouver, but was traveling back to Spokane for a couple of weeks at a time to visit her boyfriend, Chris Martin.

“That woman changed my life,” said Martin, 72. “My idea of what Christianity was her. She didn’t preach it, she lived it.”

A retired truck driver and a self-described “conservative older guy,” Martin said Allen taught him to treat people with kindness and empathy in a way that he hadn’t before.

“She took people and made them as human beings,” he said between tears. “She was good to people. She didn’t deserve any of this.”

The two met four years ago in Spokane Valley, and Martin was smitten. Allen soon moved to Vancouver, Washington, Martin said. Martin said he courted her during that time. Martin was making plans to move to Vancouver with her.

“The plan was by Memorial Day everything would be in line,” he said.

The couple’s last conversation was about the new life they were going to live together, Martin said.

“My mom’s life was important, and it’s not being recognized,” Smith said. “My mom had dreams. She had goals. My mom was young. Not only was her life robbed from her, we were robbed of her.”

Allen died as a result of blunt force injuries in a death ruled accidental by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office on March 6.

She was traveling north across East Sprague Avenue from Yoke’s when she was struck by the teenager’s vehicle, a 2013 Dodge Ram that was traveling westbound, according to a probable cause affidavit. The road includes three lanes in each direction with a center turning lane. The nearest crosswalk is at South McDonald Road. It’s not clear where Allen was traveling on East Sprague. Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Mark Gregory said the incident remains under investigation.

The pickup, which did not stop, had a spare tire attached with a skull design on its cover, the affidavit said. Spokane Valley deputies located the truck with the skull on its spare tire cover at the 800 block of South Bowdish Road on Jan. 30, about a mile and a half from the scene.

The truck had damage to the front right side that was consistent with debris discovered on East Sprague, court documents said. Deputies also discovered feathers on the side of the truck that were consistent with Allen’s down jacket she was wearing.

The teen’s mother said her son was driving the pickup the night Allen was killed and that he had taken some kids to a trampoline park on Argonne Road, according to court documents. The next day, she saw the damage to the truck and believed there was hair on it. Her son said he struck a deer on Dishman Mica Road, court documents said.

The teen was booked into detention on Feb. 27, but was released from custody on Feb. 29.

The 16-year-old’s family declined to comment for this article through their attorney, Timothy Note.

The teen will likely not be charged as an adult because he is a juvenile with no criminal history, and because the charge is not considered “a serious violent offense” under Washington state law. The Spokesman-Review is not naming the suspect because he is a minor and he has not been charged with a serious violent crime.

The teenager could face 15 to 36 weeks in a juvenile rehabilitation center, according to Washington state law juvenile sentencing standards.

Smith and her siblings have lost wages for the past month as they grieve and search for justice for their mother.

“She’s not going to be recognized as a nobody,” Smith said of her mother. “If I could describe her in one word it would be love. She was very fun, and she lived her life to the fullest.”

They may pursue legal action or petition the state Legislature to change the laws regarding failure to remain at the scene of a hit and run, she said.

“None of it makes sense,” Smith said. “I want this kid to take accountability.”