Man Upset After Redmond Police Decline to Arrest Elderly Driver—What Do You Think?

An asphalt worker told KOMO News he feared for his life when an 86-year-old man struck him in a Redmond parking lot on Saturday.

An asphalt worker who was hit by an elderly driver on Saturday morning is upset over what he believes was a lack of action on the part of the .

Bob O'Brion told KOMO News he feared for his life when he was hit by an 86-year-old man in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 17100 block of Redmond Way and is angry police did not take the driver into custody.

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O'Brion, who was applying new asphalt sealing in the parking lot, told KOMO he was trying to help the driver find a way out of the shopping center when the man intentionally ran into him with his car—twice. (Click here to see a video of O'Brion describing the incident to KOMO.)

"I slid off the front of the car and he accelerated again, trying to run me over. I swear, I was in fear for my life," O'Brion told KOMO.

Jim Bove, a spokesman for Redmond Police, said it's standard procedure for officers not to arrest drivers at the scene of an incident like this—especially when the person is not at risk of fleeing the area and does not show signs of impairment. Even if the man had been arrested, Bove said police would not have had the legal authority to keep him in jail.

“Had he been arrested, he would have gone to jail and been released immediately anyway,” Bove said, adding that the driver was "very cooperative (and) admitted to everything."

Although the driver left the scene initially, Bove said he drove off because he thought the victim was OK and that he was not speeding when police caught up to him a short time later.

Bove said he estimates a decision on whether to pursue charges in the incident will be reached by early next week.


What do you think? Did police make the right decision not to arrest the driver at the scene? Tell us in the comments.

GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 05, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Quote: "I slid off the front of the car and he accelerated again, trying to run me over. I swear, I was in fear for my life," O'Brion told KOMO. This was not a "bump". If O'Brion was being honest and didn't exaggerate it was a clear hit and run with intent to cause harm. As for your comment about evaluating him as a driver - absolutely.
dorimonsonfan September 05, 2012 at 06:49 PM
@Catherine, James: Pretty sure you would be singing a different tune if you or a loved one had been the victim of this crime. This was a hit and run, and vehicular assult. The victim has obviously already incurred costs related to his injuries. Just because you're old doesn't mean you have the right to drive around hitting construction workers and fleeing the scene.
Julie Bishop September 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM
While I certainly appreciate everyone's comments, I do not understand how someone can hit a pedestrian twice and then be let go! I'm not elderly so then I'm considered a flight risk? That's insane. If the driver was taken into custody (even briefly), then perhaps the poliice could have confiscated his license. I don't know but it's appalling to me that someone can hit a human being and then be allowed to drive. Imagine if instead of an asphalt worker the person who was hit was your child. How would people feel then? As I stated before, I'm not a legal expert and by no means pretend to have all the answers, however the driver left the accident scene and allowed to drive! I was rear ended by a teenager a few months ago (her fault) and I showed more compassion to her than this driver showed his victim.
Ken James September 05, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Ok, GlutenCaseInFree Customer (odd name, but the way). You can't assume that the statement of one of the 'interested' parties is accurate. You must consider, are there any potential ulterior motives? Are there any corroborating statements from impartial witnesses to the incident? Let assume for a moment that a person was involved in a very minor incident, but they saw the potential of monetary gain by staging a situation that would result in litigation. A simple 'bump' could be exaggerated. They could then draw attention to the event by calling the media and going on the air with a story that they feel is likely to increase any potential award. I'm not implying that this happened in this particular case because I don't have all the information -- but things like this do happen often. As a result, it is generally better to collect information from impartial sources, analyze it, then take appropriate action.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 05, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I see so much poor and even reckless driving I think everyone should be tested for knowledge and ability regularly. It is a potential weapon of great destruction comparable to a moderate bomb - we don't respect the danger well enough.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 05, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I am hoping the driver does face consequences for his actions but I trust that the police in this case made the legally necessary decision. You don't arrest someone to read them their rights (that's like saying you go outside to open your door), you read them their rights in the course of arresting them. I've seen similar situations and it is not unusual for the police to question you at the scene but not make an arrest. Some time later the driver in this case may find detectives showing up at his door and may face arrest at that time, if the police feel a crime was committed and they can prove it in court. I can't speak to whether there was a crime, I'm not a criminal lawyer. I know that I was once injured and my car and another person's vehicle were severely damaged by a poor and reckless driver. When I appeared for his court date he got a $100 fine. For a price it seems like a person could take up reckless driving as a recreational activity - which is why deeply hope this driver faces consequences, whether criminal, civil or both.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 05, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Ken, I should have said "This doesn't sound like a bump" rather than "This wasn't a bump". I did note "If O'Brion was being honest and didn't exaggerate it was a clear hit and run with intent to cause harm." - and I acknowledge that's a big IF. On the other hand you described it in your initial post as "If the driver unintentionally bumped the guy" - if I'm being perhaps a bit sympathetic to the victim perhaps you can acknowledge you seem inclined (based on that phrasing versus the information presented) to be overly charitable to the driver? I have a hard time understanding how he could in any way collide with a pedestrian twice (as given in the original story) - or even once - and not stop, exchange information and verify the pedestrian was ok. You do that when you bump into or hit someone's car and the car is a fair amount more durable. That is what is probably leading me to lack sympathy for the driver.
Ken James September 05, 2012 at 07:46 PM
GlutenCa... You said: "perhaps you can acknowledge you seem inclined (based on that phrasing versus the information presented) to be overly charitable to the driver?" I think others have assumed that too. Not the case, I make no judgment about the driver's guilt or innocence. What you, and others perhaps, are detecting is a degree of confidence in the police decision. There were obviously several different officers involved; at the 'accident' scene and at the traffic stop. They shared information available from both vantage points and ultimately made the decision based on that information from an impartial point of view. My experience is that most police officers don't refrain from making arrests when warranted.... most rather enjoy doing that when needed! But the bottom line is that the case, if any, was not damaged by not arresting the driver at the time, and there may be very good facts to support that decision. As to those who said I might feel differently if it was a family member who was 'injured'... I'm certain that you are right. That's precisely why those who are directly involved don't make those decisions. The decision is best when it emanates from factual rather than emotional criteria.
dorimonsonfan September 05, 2012 at 08:03 PM
The facts are: a man hit a pedestrian with his car, fled the scene, and was later caught by police. There are no circumstances that could justify not arresting the man.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 05, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I said elsewhere that I trust the police made the right legal decision in not arresting the driver. Arrest serves specific purposes as has been noted, preventing flight risk and taking someone to jail/prison. However, I'd hoped that by a frank admission of my bias and a constructive illustration of why you appear to be biased in favor of the driver, i.e. that describing the situation as a bump based on the information given looks like you favor the driver, that you would see that and perhaps find and admit that you do have a bias in that direction.
Saul in Kenmore September 06, 2012 at 12:51 AM
While we don't really know the details, the driver did hit the person and left the scene, the fact that the person was able to stand up has little bearing, anyone that thinks that someone can be "bumped" by a car should actually try it, bones break way before cars dent. I think that we have a tendency as a society to minimize the problems caused by this kind of miss behavior. While the law doesn't currently allow it, I think that the if the story bears true, then the license and the car should be lost, we know that people drive without licenses, take away the car and you eliminate the repeat offenders and loss of the car probably has a bigger deterent effect than loss of a license.
Carol Music September 06, 2012 at 02:23 AM
This is really off the subject, BTW - but Gluten-Casein Free is a medical term for full blown Celiac Disease. It's NOT a joke! I have FINALLY, after 2+ miserable years of my body fighting Gluten, I have been completely free of it for the past 5 weeks. It is in everything and one learns to question anything. I feel better with more energy than I've had in several years.The full-blown disease basically turns the upper part of the small intestine, where is connects to the stomach, from a forest of tiny villi meant to collect vitamins necessary for healthy system into what I call a slide! No nutrients and no necessary bulk results in nasty side-effects. Once you become completely Gluten Free, it can take up to a year for the small intestine to completely heal. Casein free is a serious disease to any dairy product. We must spend the rest of our lives being hyper-vigilant with all foods! If it is in question, DON'T eat it!! I'm talking crumbs here. I know - it's happened 2X to me recently! I will NEVER knowingly eat Gluten again - not even tempted. Going from being a true sugarholic for most of my life, I have now lost the craving, but can enjoy sweets when I want without the desire to binge on it! Sorry for the wordy lecture, but I felt your comment deserved a good answer.
Catherine Wittel September 06, 2012 at 03:24 AM
I think you are referring to the fact that he "allegedly" fled the scene. The police did not find that to be the case. Maybe they have a different criteria for determining what is "fleeing" the scene. For instance, if you hit someone and you exchanged information and then left, is that fleeing the scene? The police said that he was not speeding, did not take an alternate route, and apparently did not meet the traditional criteria for someone who is "fleeing." Was an ambulance called? It just seems that we are making assumptions without firsthand knowledge. Again, I think the police officer was doing his job and the investigation is not complete. The driver may be arrested at a later date and time, but it will be with good cause instead of being arrested because all of us think that's what should happen.
Ken James September 06, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Thanks for clearing up that mysterious name, Carol! I'm glad you are feeling well and that you now know how to stay that way.
Kirkland Tony September 06, 2012 at 01:16 PM
The reason for "arrest" has changed. It used to be to ensure that a suspect did not flee and to control that suspect, preventing more crimes, until bail. But as we saw with the left's insistence that George Zimmerman be arrested - well after the incident and when there was no risk of flight (he was free for 45 days before the arrest without fleeing), it's painfully clear that the action of arresting him was a form of retribution (without trial) and of pandering to the left. Whether you agree with the tone of the above, there are no facts in dispute in it. Zimmerman was not arrested until 45 days after the incident with Martin. So what is the point of arrest? Did you agree with eventual arrest of Zimmerman?
Dave September 06, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Problem is when you use terms in potential legal actions. You split hairs. A construction zone is defined under the laws of the state. So. No, it was not a construction zone as defined by law. As we are talking about arresting and charging someone. Definitions are specific and important.
Dave September 06, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Police do not have the authority to "Yank" a drivers license. That can only be done by a judge after trial or the Department of Licensing.
dorimonsonfan September 06, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The point of arresting a hit and run suspect is to get an immediate recorded statement of his recolection of events. Many times the way we figure out if someone is guilty or innocent is by looking at the consistency of their story. The guy who got hit deserves an immediate and thourough investigation.
Ken James September 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Sorry, Dorimonsonfan... you are just wrong on this. First, the driver was 'arrested'. Any involuntary detention by the police is an arrest. In this case, the driver was released after the preliminary investigation. If the police had neglected to stop and detain the driver and conduct an investigation, the criticism might be valid. Secondly, the questioning of witnesses and other aspects of the investigation are not necessarily enhanced by an arrest and transportation to jail. The driver would likely refuse to talk without an attorney and would immediately be released anyway. The officer who stopped the driver was able to inspect the vehicle and collect any evidence of a crime and hear the witness statements and based on that information, decide the right course of action. The law is very technical and not influenced by an emotional impulse. Having said that, Redmond PD does have some policies that I feel are excessively 'non-confrontational'. For example, suspects who flee in a vehicle are not pursued except in extraordinary circumstance... this policy is to reduce chance of accidents which often result from pursuits. In that case, evidence is lost as is the ability to identify the occupants and the reason they are fleeing. But in the 'hit and run' case, the objectives of the criminal investigation are in tact.
HHydrOGary September 07, 2012 at 04:47 PM
You have to watch out for King Co Sheriff as they are biased to the wealthy.. I worked for an asphalt co a few years and while flagging on Tolt Hill Rd, (It was being paved),the pilot truck driver radioed for me to stop a vehicle that had passed him,on the right almost looseing control in the ditch, I had the car stopped at the point where I had the west bound traffic stopped,, with my stop paddle in front of his left headlight, my knee about 3inches in front of his bumper, when I told him that the pilot truck driver would be there in a few minutes to ask why the guy went around his pilot vehicle he took off. That was at about 7:10 AM,, the Sherrif didn't get out to talk to me until about 2PM, come to find out they went to his house,(I'd gotten his license number), WELL apparently money talks (a doctor from Carnation), got out of it with a no seatbelt ticket, even though his bumper hit my knee and the hood hit my left hand, although not hard enough to cause any damage, I still see it as hit and run, or at least neg driving, my question is how did King Co Sherrif know that he was not wearing a seatbelt??? Very Strange
Fred staples September 07, 2012 at 08:56 PM
My children have it "SOLIDLY" ingrained in them not to trust the police. They won't even so much as give their names to them until one of us get there should that situation ever arise. They were taught to just speed dial us.
Tina Lewis September 10, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Nice, Fred staples, for teaching respect for authority to your children, whom I'm sure are simply upstanding citizens...lol
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 10, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Tony, Zimmerman clearly was a flight risk - recall the undisclosed (and lied about) money from his "defense fund" issue? I don't always agree with the actions of law enforcement but in this case I believe they acted appropriately.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 10, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Ken, I disagree - when I spoke to police after an accident (technically I could have left but that would not have done well for me), I was not under arrest, I was not in custody. There are clear legal standards for arrest and if this driver had been arrested, it would have been reported.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 10, 2012 at 03:11 AM
@Tina - respect for authority is a mistaken concept. You respect justice, rule of law, "do unto others", preservation / conservation of our world - not authority. Being in charge, in and of itself, doesn't warrant respect aside from the same respect you give an open flame, the respect for something that can harm you. I respect authority where it serves the public, where it serves ideals like justice, rule of law, etc. On the other hand, I would think that the best choice in dealing with police is strictly abiding by the law. Don't sacrifice your rights, insist they follow the rules that apply to them - and KNOW THOSE RULES. Police are people and exist in a combat zone that lends to PTSD type thinking. Only informed citizenry can keep liberty and safety in balance.
Ken James September 10, 2012 at 03:47 AM
GCFC, if you are involved in an accident and discuss that event with the police, you are not under arrest nor are you being detained. In this case, the police were investigating a report of a crime and they performed a traffic stop and an investigation. The driver under investigation was not "free to leave" and therefore was technically detained and under arrest. I am making the assumption that the reported crime was felony 'hit and run involving bodily injury' so the officer was able to arrest the subject and later release him pending further investigation. I think that the statement by Bove regarding this incident was not intended to convey the legal description of arrest, but rather he was stating that the driver was not transported to jail. Courts have held that if a police officer stops you and you are not free to leave, you are under arrest.
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 10, 2012 at 06:22 AM
@Ken James: As far as my (admittedly limited) understanding goes, you are not under arrest unless you are told so and read your Miranda rights. You are not detained until you are told so and you can't leave. You state "In this case, the police were investigating a report of a crime and they performed a traffic stop and an investigation. The driver under investigation was not "free to leave" and therefore was technically detained and under arrest." Where does the report state that? Are you Redmond PD - else how could you state this authoritatively? I'm not assuming any crime was committed. When you say "Courts have held that if a police officer stops you and you are not free to leave, you are under arrest.", it seems you are interpreting the story as the police stopping the driver and not allowing him to leave? You can assume when you are stopped that you are not free to leave but truly (I think) you are free to leave until told otherwise - it is just dangerous to you to do so. Quoting from the original report - THE DRIVER WAS NOT ARRESTED: "Jim Bove, a spokesman for Redmond Police, said it's standard procedure for officers not to arrest drivers at the scene of an incident like this—especially when the person is not at risk of fleeing the area and does not show signs of impairment. Even if the man had been arrested, Bove said police would not have had the legal authority to keep him in jail."
Ken James September 10, 2012 at 08:46 AM
GCFC, The report from RPD said: "...he was not speeding when police caught up to him a short time later." From this statement, I inferred that he was driving when observed by the police and that they conducted a traffic stop as part of the 'hit and run" investigation. Whether the driver was "detained" or "arrested" is actually a fairly complicated legal point. A legal analysis would include factors such as; Would a reasonable person believe that he was free to leave? and How long was the person detained? If you are interested in researching further this article discusses the topic: http://www.lectlaw.com/def/a100.htm Again, I didn't interpret Bove's statement to be a legal statement but rather he was using the term 'arrest' to mean taken into custody and taken to the jail.
Bob McCoy September 12, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Come on, Ken James: "If you had reason to believe that there were no injuries and no property damage, you aren't committing a crime." I hope you will share a reference to the statutes regarding this application of "crime." Suppose the driver is too drunk to form a belief regarding the extent of the damage, can we assume that no "crime" is committed? Your apparent belief that you can strike someone with your car, and not bother to stop to ascertain his or her personal assessment of the damage you have caused to them, is troubling. Where, exactly, have you learned to perform visual assessments, and how often are you retested on that ability? Opinions are great, but at least try to provide a minimal factual foundation for your "legal perspective."
GlutenCaseinFree Customer September 12, 2012 at 05:45 PM
@Carol Music (because for some reason I can't put a comment on your home page): Gluten and Casein free are not (as far as I know) medical terms for any disease, they simply express being free of gluten and casein (milk protein.) They are methods of handling disease (such as celiac), allergy and sensitivity. In my case I am at least in the range of 'sensitive to allergic' to gluten and casein but I do not have full blown celiac. Cutting gluten and casein out of my diet has improved a wide variety of symptoms I've had in steadily increasing degrees for years - issues with my skin (rashes and flakyness), digestion/stomach (I haven't had to take an antacid since I changed my diet), breathing (cow's milk casein causes increased mucous production in all humans but more so in me) and I've lost over 50 pounds. I'd recommend this dietary change to everyone but especially to people with issues like frequent heartburn, skin problems and respiratory allergy issues - or who just want to lose weight (though cutting almost all processed food out of my diet was surely also a big help there.)


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