Local News

Toddler hospitalized, driver jailed after hit and run crash

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - It's a horrible sight that two Spokane Valley parents will never forget: This weekend Danny and Tracy Packard watched a car run over their two-year-old daughter and then speed away.

The hit and run collision happened at Argonne and Maringo near the Spokane River and a Gonzaga law school student allegedly responsible for the crash.

Danny Packard said the driver cut the corner turning off of Argonne and was traveling down the wrong side of the road when he saw the Honda was hearing right for him and his daughter.

Hit and run crash vo

"I went to veer off ... I looked him straight in the eyes ... like, what are you doing? Veered off into the neighbor's yard and went to turn, the trailer went sideways and he went straight over the trailer," Packard said.

Danika Packard was being towed by her father's bike in a kid carrier, the force of the impact left a mark from the trailer's tire on the hit and run Honda's front bumper.

Packard and his wife, who was right behind him and saw the collision unfold, rushed to their daughter's side.

The only thing that kept me knowing that she was crying, knowing that her eyes were open, she was OK," Packard said.

Another driver, Brian Piper saw the collision and then followed the fleeing Honda until it stopped at a nearby apartment complex. Piper blocked in the driver until Spokane County Sheriff's deputies arrived.

"Without him we wouldn't have the license plate. We wouldn't have the vehicle. I mean potentially gotten away with this," Spokane County Sheriff Detective Dave Thornburg said.

Instead, Timmy Nguyen was arrested on vehicular assault and hit and run charges. Deputies say the Gonzaga law student refused to answer their questions and cursed at the Good Samaritan who tailed him.

"To that gentleman I would like to say thank you. There are no words to express what he did for us," Packard said.

Meanwhile doctors are crediting Danika's bike helmet with saving her life. Despite two skull fractures she's expected to make a full recovery.

"The helmet, they are basically made of Styrofoam. It was blown apart into pieces. But that Styrofoam, it helps dissipates those forces," Thornburg said.

Prosecutors do not think they will immediately be filling charges against Nguyen and so he will be released from jail within a couple of days. However the court ordered he refrain from alcohol and begin counseling for his self-described substance abuse problem.