Crash could be classified as vehicular assault

Police are investigating a T-bone crash that took place in East Port Orchard on Tuesday as a possible vehicular assault.

Witnesses reported a green Jeep Cherokee driven by a 21-year-old Port Orchard man was making a legal left-hand turn from northbound Jackson Avenue onto westbound Lund Avenue just after 7 p.m. when it was hit on the front passenger side by a silver Honda CRX traveling westbound on Lund.

Witnesses also said the Honda, driven by another 21-year-old Port Orchard man, was apparently trying to time the light, accelerating as the light turned green rather than waiting for the light to change before hitting the gas.

According to the police report, the Cherokee’s turn light was yellow at the time of the collision — the Honda apparently misjudged the intersection and was in the roadway while his light was still red.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Aman, who is investigating the crash, said it didn’t look like the Honda driver was racing anyone — except maybe himself.

The Honda driver was uninjured, but both his passengers required transport to Tacoma General Hospital for their injuries.

The driver’s 25-year-old brother, who was unsecured in the front passenger seat, was treated and released for a possible head injury.

The 26-year-old female passenger, whose relationship to the two men is still unknown, was perched on the Honda’s center console when the two cars collided. She was thrown forward into the dashboard, severely breaking her leg just below the kneecap.

The driver of the Cherokee and his 6-month-old daughter were uninjured. The 21-year-old mother of the baby sustained minor injuries when her airbag inflated. All three were properly seatbelted at the time of the crash.

Aman said the case is still under investigation, but said a vehicular assault charge against the Honda driver is possible. Vehicular assault, a class B felony, occurs when a driver causes “substantial bodily harm” through reckless or drunken driving or driving with disregard for the safety of others.

The female passenger’s broken leg, Aman said, certainly qualifies as substantial bodily injury.

Aman said he’s still seeking witnesses of the collision. He said the passengers of the Honda have not been very helpful, despite their injuries.

“They have not been forthcoming with us,” Aman said. “They have not wanted to talk to us even though (one) received a very serious injury.”

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