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Jury quickly acquits client in hit-and-run

Attorney Ross Meyers picked up a quick victory this week in Clark County District Court, as a jury deliberated only 15 minutes before unanimously voting to acquit his client of hit-and-run of an unattended vehicle. 

Meyers’ client, who has no criminal history, could have faced up to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay an $1,000 fine if he had been convicted of hit and run unattended, a misdemeanor.

The owner of a damaged 2001 Honda Accord said she was out of town when her vehicle, which she had left parked on the street outside her West Minnehaha neighborhood home, was hit. She came home to discover that the front bumper on the driver’s side had been smashed in, and the headlight broken.

Her neighbor said she had been looking out her window and saw Meyers’ client, a contractor, back into the Honda Accord with his truck. 

The neighbor testified during the Feb. 15 trial that she waited two days to report the incident to police because she was busy, and she thought the driver might turn himself in. When contacted by a Vancouver police officer, Meyers’ client denied hitting the Honda. The police officer wrote in his report that he didn’t see any fresh damage or paint transfer on the client’s truck that would have indicated a recent collision.

The officer told Meyers’ client that if he exchanged insurance information with the owner of the Honda it would stay a civil matter. Meyers’ client again denied hitting the Honda, and the police officer forwarded his report to the Vancouver City Attorney’s office.

An assistant city attorney said she would give Meyers’ client a lenient deal if he agreed to pay $500 restitution to the victim to cover the cost of her insurance deductible. As a first-time offender, the client could have been eligible for diversion but would have had to pay restitution to qualify for the program. 

At trial, Meyers’ client told jurors he didn’t hit the Accord, and his assistant testified he was with him and he didn’t hit the vehicle. 

During closing arguments, Meyers told the jury that all the city had to prove its case was the word of one witness. There was no physical evidence, and the word of that one witness wasn’t enough to overcome his client’s denial, he said. The city simply couldn’t meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tags: criminal law, not guilty, Clark County

Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.: Vancouver Defenders Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.
Vancouver Defenders