No criminal charges in Hoquiam collision that killed woman in wheelchair

A truck driver who hit and killed a woman in a wheelchair in Hoquiam last October will receive a traffic infraction.

Both the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor’s Office and Hoquiam City Attorney Steve Johnson reviewed the case and declined to file felony, gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor charges.

“In reviewing the entire file concerning the tragic death of Darla J. Dean, I did not find grounds for the filing of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crime against the driver, Jonathon M. Cable,” Johnson said. “I have recommended to the Hoquiam Police Department that Mr. Cable be cited for the traffic infraction of failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.”

Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said Cable, 41, of Raymond, will be issued the infraction in the next few days.

“Since a traffic collision was involved, the penalty goes from $124 to $175,” Myers said.

Cable was on 22nd Street driving across Simpson Avenue toward Ocean Protein Oct. 8, 2013. According to his statement to the Hoquiam Police Department, he was focused on finding a break in the traffic that was coming off the Simpson Avenue Bridge and keeping an eye on a 15-year-old boy also crossing Simpson Avenue when he started to cross, crushing Darla Dean under his truck and dragging her across the street.

Dean, 50, of Hoquiam, had been crossing 22nd Street directly in front of Cable’s truck, heading toward the bridge.

“The kid cut across the road kitty corner as I focused my attention on him a little too much as there was a break in traffic,” he said in his statement to police.

Witnesses said Dean and onlookers shouted for Cable’s attention, but he didn’t know he had hit someone until he reached the other side of the street. One witness said Dean pounded on the truck’s bumper as it rolled forward.

“I felt something as I wondered, ‘What the heck?’ ” Cable told police. “I started looking in my mirrors. I saw something flying up. I saw some lady freaking out as I stopped. I felt something wasn’t right at this time. … I didn’t even know I had hit a person.”

After the collision, Cable passed field sobriety tests and tested negative for alcohol and drugs. Dean’s toxicology report indicates she had 14 nanograms of THC per milliliter in her blood, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Washington’s legal limit to drive is 5 nanograms per milliliter, but there is little consensus among experts on the level of impairment from person to person for given THC concentrations.

The State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Division inspected Ocean Express, the trucking division of Ocean Companies, following the collision. Though no violations were found relating to the fatal collision, other violations led to a safety rating of “unsatisfactory,” and ultimately to an “out of service order” from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

That has since been lifted and Ocean Express is authorized to operate, according to the federal agency’s website.

Brionna Friedrich: 360-537-3933 or and @DW_Brionna on Twitter.


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