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Police say woman fled after crushing man to death with her car

Police say woman fled after crushing man to death with her car

WAPATO, Wash. – Wapato police say 60-year-old Warren Smartlowit was laying in an alley connected to the driveway of 702 1/2 West 8th Street, when he was run over, early Saturday morning.

“It was reported that the person who ran over the male, who was in the alley, did leave the scene,” said Wapato Public Safety Director Michael Campos.

Campos tells Action News a 21-year-old woman fled the scene after running over Smartlowit at around 4:00 A.M., crushing his chest and spine, which ultimately caused him to bleed to death.

Campos says the woman was on her way to work and was backing out of her driveway, which connects to an alley, when she hit him and took off. But he says minutes later, she returned.

“Returned about 15 minutes later and made contact with the officers, explained what happened. She was questioned,” said Campos.

As to why the victim was laying in the alley, police say they think he was sleeping, but aren't certain.

And because it was reported that the woman fled, Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins says it is likely that she may face charges of felony hit-and-run, but Campos says this is still an active investigation.

“If the coroner is ruling that it was felony hit-and-run, perhaps he’s seen something that we didn’t see rather, and ultimately he would learn more about the incident during the autopsy, that we wouldn’t be able to determine, at the scene,” said Campos.

The coroner says he’ll know by next week if drugs or alcohol were in the system of Smartlowit.

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