08-27-09 UPDATE: Vehicle-Pedestrian Collision May 5, 2009
Boise, August 27, 2009 - Boise Police have completed their investigation into a fatal collision between a car and a pedestrian that occurred May 5th of this year.
Boise Police detectives say they received results earlier this week from toxicology tests from the driver of the car involved in the collision. The test results proved negative for drugs or alcohol, substances that may cause impairment of the driver. The report is being submitted to the Ada County Prosecutor for review.
Based on the information gathered, detectives do not expect any criminal charges to be filed in the case.
What Happened: Boise Police Crash Reconstruction experts say it appears the pedestrian, positively identified by the Ada County Coroner as Dennis R. Hill, 62 of Boise, appeared to be walking north to south in front of 4022 W. State Street, and was likely in the center turn lane when he was struck by the vehicle. He was not in a crosswalk. The collision occurred at 12:49 a.m., May 5, 2009. At the time of the collision, it was raining lightly and the streets were wet. The area where the collision occurred is dimly lit.
The driver, a 25 year old man from Boise was driving westbound on State St. and was making a left turn into a parking lot when his vehicle, a Subaru, struck the pedestrian. The driver told officers he didn't see the pedestrian in the road until the moment of impact. After he realized what happened, the driver drove to a nearby parking lot, went inside the bar, and had an employee call 911. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, but died of his injuries later that day.
Background on Information Release, Investigative Tests in fatal traffic incidents:
Names: When an individual is charged or arrested, that's when, according to Boise Police policy, their name becomes a public record and available for public release. Only names of people involved in traffic incidents who are cited or arrested are released by the police department. Victim, witness, possible suspect, and names of persons with information are also not released by police during an ongoing investigation. Deceased victims names are released publically by the Ada County Coroner who has responsibility for making positive identification. While incidents remain under investigation, all names involved are part of an ongoing investigative record, which is not yet public per Idaho Code 9-335, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Public Records Requests: Information not released by police during an ongoing investigation, may, at the conclusion of the investigation and subsequent court proceedings, be available through a public records request made to the public records custodian of the Boise Police Department. Some information, including names, may not be released per policies regarding individuals rights to privacy. Boise City Attorney's review all public records requests made to the police department.
Evidence Tests: In cases where there is no obvious sign of impairment, the results of the evidence and toxicology tests are critical in the decision as to appears responsible, and what criminal charges, if any, should be filed.
Those tests may mean the difference between a minor traffic infraction and small fine, or a felony charge with a significant penalty that may include jail time. And as you know, with our justice system, once a charge is filed and the defendant enters a plea, if additional evidence is later found that would warrant a more serious charge, the double jeopardy clause would prohibit prosecutors from filing.
In other words, if officers respond to a traffic collision with a death or serous injury, if they find no evidence of obvious alcohol or drug use, the law would only permit the officers to charge the person responsible with a minor violation, a misdemeanor. The evidence simply would not yet be available that could support a more serious felony charge. However, if time is given for evidence and toxicology tests to come back that show the driver had other issues that were perhaps not obvious, like prescription drug use, a medical issue that should prohibit driving, or some other mitigating factor, prosecutors could file a more serious felony charge and have the evidence to make that charge stand up in court.
Serious criminal charges require a very high burden of proof, and that is what investigating officers want to be able to collect and present to prosecutors to make the most appropriate charge in any criminal case.
When an arrest is made or an arrest warrant issued in the case, or if the investigation finds no evidence of criminal activity in a traffic incident involving a death or serious injury, that information will be made public as soon as possible.