Fleeing driver arrested after pinning man between vehicles

A Hoquiam driver was arrested Monday after pinning an Elma man between two cars and fleeing the scene.

A Hoquiam driver was arrested Monday after pinning an Elma man between two cars and fleeing the scene.

Hoquiam police and fire responded to a collision at a gas station in the 200 block of Lincoln Street in Hoquiam Monday afternoon. According to witnesses, the driver of a Chevrolet pick-up pulled into the gas pumps behind another vehicle, then apparently hit the gas and lurched forward, pinning a 55-year old Elma man between the two vehicles.

Instead of backing up, the driver of the pick-up apparently hit the gas again. He then backed up and got out to briefly to check on the victim who had slumped to the ground from his injuries. According to a Hoquiam Police Department press release the victim told officers the suspect tried to convince the victim he was okay and to get up. The victim said he was injured and could not get up. The driver claimed he hit the wrong pedal.

The driver of the pick-up then fled the scene and was observed driving north on Lincoln Street at a high rate of speed. A passenger in another vehicle at the gas pumps snapped a photo of the license plate of the fleeing pick-up on her cell phone and gave it to police.

After running the plate, officers located the pick-up at the driver’s residence in the 500 block of Perry Avenue. The suspect, a 66-year-old Hoquiam man, refused to come to the door. Additional officers from Hoquiam and Aberdeen arrived on scene and briefly closed off the street while officers entered the house on a warrant from South Bend for an unrelated charge. The suspect was arrested without incident.

The driver admitted to officers he had been drinking beer earlier in the day, and he had “bumped” into the other driver and fled because he “panicked.”

Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said there was some indication the suspect was possibly under the influence of either drugs and or alcohol.

“We obtained a search warrant for a legal blood draw,” Myers said. “It was sent to the state crime lab, and the results can take up to a couple of months to come back.”

Myers said the suspect was charged with felony hit and run and transported to the county jail.

“When there is an injury involved and the driver flees the scene, it becomes a felony,” he said.

Myers added the driver could be charged with either vehicular assault or driving under the influence, depending on the results of the blood test and extent of injures to the victim.

The victim was transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital for treatment, but has already been released.

“He doesn’t appear to have been seriously injured,” Myers said. “But we won’t know for sure until we get the medical records.”