A man who hit a Tacoma trick-or-treater with his SUV has been charged with vehicular assault. Bail has been set at $20,000.
A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she causes substantial bodily harm while driving a vehicle:
- In a reckless manner; or
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
- With disregard for the safety of others.
Substantial bodily harm means bodily injury which involves a temporary, but substantial disfigurement, loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part.
Vehicular assault is a Class B felony punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
The 7-year-old was walking hand-in-hand with his father as they crossed the street while trick-or-treating just before 7:30 Halloween night. The SUV brushed by the father, who was not injured, but his son was struck hard enough to send him flying through the air, according to other parents who saw the crash while out with their own children.
The boy was taken to a local children's hospital where he was listed in critical condition. He had a skull fracture, missing teeth, cuts, abrasions, and bruises.
The 38-year-old driver tried to flee the scene, according to witnesses, but several held him until police arrived and took him into custody. One woman stood in front of the SUV to prevent the driver from moving forward. That did not stop him from revving his engine and bumping her with the vehicle. Other witnesses who saw what was happening ran over to surround the SUV. One of the witnesses, who was armed, held the driver at gunpoint until police officers arrived.
According to court documents, the driver told police officers he drank alcohol and smoked marijuana before driving home from work. One officer said the driver's speech was slurred. He expressed remorse but said the little boy darted into the street in front of his SUV. However, multiple witness accounts said the father and son were crossing the street together and the driver failed to stop.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular assault. Officers took him to the hospital for a blood draw for a blood-alcohol analysis.
Any person who operates a motor vehicle in Washington state is deemed to have given implied consent to a test or tests to determine the drug or alcohol concentration of their blood or breath if they are arrested for any offense and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs. If the driver refuses to take the test, his or her license, permit or privilege to drive will be revoked or denied for at least one year and the driver's refusal can be used in a criminal trial against them.
Everyone deserves a quality defense. Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest or what you admitted to the police without benefit of council, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.