Suspect in '5K reward' hit-and-run of teen could face jail time
YAKIMA, Wash. – 14-year-old Hunter Baugher was crossing the street near Olive Garden on 3rd Street and Yakima Avenue, when he was hit by an SUV, in January.
Now, Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says they're ready to press charges.
“I asked to see the reports myself, and evaluated the case, and knew and followed up working with the Yakima Police Department, and decided that it merited being charged out as a nonviolent class C felony hit-and-run involving an injury,” said Brusic.
As KIMA had previously reported, Jack Baugher, the father of the victim, was offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information on the suspect who hurt his son. The Yakima Police Department was able to identify the suspect and they refused to accept the money. Jack said he would instead donate the money to charity.
Brusic says with this case, as with all hit-and-run cases, it's necessary to hold the suspect accountable for failing to stop and help the victim.
“The important issue here, is that anybody who is driving a motor vehicle is held responsible for their actions, as the driver of that vehicle. We all consent when we get behind the wheel of a car, to drive safely and to protect others on the road,” said Brusic.
Coincidentally, as this hit-and-run case is moving forward, KIMA reported on another hit-and-run involving a teenager that happened yesterday, near Eisenhower High School. Brusic has advice for those who even think of fleeing the scene.
“The law demands that when you hit somebody, whether they be on foot or in a car, that you stop, you remain, you render aid, you provide information. You cannot leave the scene. You're required to stay and help,” he said.
Brusic says if this suspect has no prior criminal history, she could potentially be behind bars for a minimum of three to six months.
The suspect's arraignment is April 6.