• 'I'm looking for justice': Hit-and-run victim argues for stiffer penalties for suspect driver

    By: Gary Horcher

    Updated:

    One week after a commercial van slammed into him while he walked on a lower Queen Anne sidewalk and sped away, Miles Partman says the justice system's treatment of the hit-and-run suspect driver is adding insult to his injuries.

    "I could literally be dead right now instead of talking to you," Partman said, adding "I feel like SPD is not taking this crime seriously."

    Partman says remembers turning his head as the van's grill and side mirror threw him into an embankment on the morning of July 30, near Denny Way and Western Avenue. He was hospitalized with a broken knee and facial lacerations which required 20 stitches.

    According to the Seattle police report, the driver who later admitted to hitting Partman from behind veered onto the sidewalk near Western Avenue and Denny Way, "for unknown reasons."

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    The report says the driver "panicked" after hitting Partman, and he drove away, parking the van in a nearby garage.

    Nearly three hours later, Seattle police contacted the driver, who called 911 to turn himself in.

    Seattle police did not arrest the driver or test him for impairment. A Seattle police spokesman told KIRO-7 too much time had passed to test for impairment. The spokesperson said the responding officers also did not believe Partman's injuries were substantial enough to rise to the level of a felony.

    Police gave the driver a citation and referred the case to municipal court for potential misdemeanor charges -- although prosecutors can decide to recommend felony charges in King County court.

    "There should be more charges added than what's recommended," Partman said. "It's ridiculous, how can you recommend a hit-and-run charge when it's obvious when you arrive on the scene that it's obviously a vehicular assault included.''

    Partman says he researched Washington State law, and by his reading, more laws were broken than a simple hit-and-run.

    "According to the Seattle Traffic Collision Manual, serious bodily injury is any broken bone or fracture," he said.

    State law does indicate if a hit-and-run results in an injury, it can be charged as a felony.

    Seattle police have been corresponding with Partman to explain the reasoning for giving the driver a municipal citation.

    "It should have been vehicular assault," Partman said. "Hit and Run Misdemeanor, and then Gross Misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment for driving on the sidewalk at a high rate of speed.''

    KIRO-7 will follow the decisions made by the Seattle Attorney's Office.
     

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