BENTON COUNTY, Wash. - A follow-up you'll only find on KEPR. We have learned no criminal charges will be filed in the deadly wreck that killed a man in Kennewick on December 12, 2012.
You may remember the accident took the life a man who was just an innocent bystander in a parking lot off W. Clearwater Avenue. An SUV jumped the curb and killed him. Nearly three-months later, the Benton County Prosecutor's Office determined the driver of the SUV wasn't under the influence, he wasn't reckless and we wasn't disregarding safety.
In a screening decision obtained by KEPR, Benton County summed this up as a tragic accident. It appears the 84-year old driver confused the gas pedal for the brake pedal. Police believe Elmer Simmons had been changing lanes on Clearwater to get around a bus. He hit another car and then spun out of control. Simmons killed pedestrian David Ratliff outside a smoke shop near Winco. Ratliff's widow was not interested in pursuing charges against the now 85-year old elderly driver, either.
You may remember there was a second accident just a few minutes later, right down the road from the first deadly wreck. A woman hit a bicyclist, dragging her under her pickup. Washington State Patrol worked this accident because Kennewick Police were tied up with the first one. Troopers recommended a charge of negligent driving for the driver of the pickup. They believe she was distracted by the first accident when she hit the bicyclist. That woman spent ten-weeks in a Seattle hospital before she was recently released.