COLFAX, WA - Felony Hit-and-Run Charges will be filed Thursday afternoon against Richard Pasma, the ex-boyfriend of Kristen Grindley, the woman who was found near death by a passerby on November 11th in the middle of Pullman-Albion Road.
Prosecutor Denis Tracy will file the charge against Pasma, 24, who has long been considered a person of interest in the case by investigators. Tracy added he will be seeking an exceptional sentence in this case if Pasma is convicted. A hit-and-run charge carries a standard sentencing range of three to nine months while an exceptional sentence would be up to five years in prison.
Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers admits they don't have enough evidence to prove Pasma caused his ex-girlfriend Kristen Grindley's injuries by knocking her off his truck while driving down Pullman-Albion Road on the night of November 11th. However Sheriff Meyers says they can prove he knew about the accident and just left her lying in the road. Meyers says despite people speculation and theories about what happened. They could only charge Pasma on the evidence they have in the case.
?We believe at the time of the incident when she fell he knew and he failed to take action,? Sheriff Meyers said.
The only two witnesses in the case are Pasma, who maintains that he left Grindley at her home that evening, and Grindley herself, who cannot remember what happened that evening.
Kristen's father Rick Grindley says the family is "relieved" by Prosecutor Tracy's decision to file charges against Pasma.
?She was just minutes away from death and she needed help and this person just walked away. So, yeah, we're happy that this person is being brought to justice and very glad this is happening now,? Rick Grindley said.
Pasma's attorney Tim Esser says his client is looking forward to being exonerated in court.
?I know he feels like I do,? Pasma?s attorney Tim Esser said. ?We're looking forward to getting this resolved. We're looking forward to separating fact from speculation and once that happens I'm confident he will be exonerated.?
Early into the case investigators named Pasma as a person of interest and seized his truck for evidence. They say that Grindley and Pasma had been arguing all day before the incident and Kristen's roommate remembers seeing Grindley get into the truck with Pasma as he drove off. Late that night Grindley was found near death along the roadway by a passerby who stopped and called 911.
Pasma later told detectives that the two had been arguing but said he drove away from Grindley?s home that night as she was standing on the front porch and that was the last time he saw her. Forensic scientists however found a scuff mark on Grindley?s clothing that matched the molding on the side of Pasma?s Chevy Truck. That truck was seized the day after the accident for evidence.
Investigators have always considered Pasma a person of interest in the case, but because Kristen?s memory was wiped out in the accident they held off on pressing charges until Grindley could recount what happened that night.
Kristen spent a month in the hospital and two months at St. Luke?s Rehabilitation Facility before returning to her home in Western Washington in late January.
Pasma, who is currently working on a fishing boat in Alaska right now, will not be arrested when the charges are filed in Whitman County Superior Court but will receive a summons to appear before the court to answer to the hit-and-run charge.
RELATED VIDEO: - 911 tapes show man helped emergency crews find Grindley - Rick Grindley: 'Somebody left her for dead' - WSU Grad continues remarkable recovery - Investigators find inconsistencies in Grindley's boyfriend's statements - Attorneys recall Chris Henry death in Grindley investigation
KXLY4's Erik Loney and KXLY.com's Rob Kauder contributed to this report
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