Forks teen jailed in fatal hit-and-run released without bail
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Garrid James Larson was arrested for investigation of felony hit-and-run in the death of Aamanda Louise LaGambina, 25, also of Forks.
He was released on his own recognizance by Clallam County Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor and was warned to remain in the area.
“It would be different if there were alcohol or drugs involved,” Taylor said.
John Troberg, Clallam County deputy prosecuting attorney, did not ask for bail and noted that Larson had no criminal record, is gainfully employed, has family in the area and that there was no indication Larson was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision.
Larson had turned himself in to police Monday night after driving away from the collision.
Defense attorney Karen Unger agreed with Taylor and Troberg, saying, “I believe it is just a tragic accident.”
Trooper Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman, said LaGambina was hit by Larson's 2000 red Toyota pickup truck at about 8:45 p.m. Monday while walking on Calawah Way near Leppell Road,
Larson was driving eastbound on Calawah Way, and LaGambina was walking westbound toward town when she was hit, troopers said, adding that the truck carried her 80 feet down the road.
LaGambina, a 2005 graduate of Forks High School who was a student at Peninsula College in 2012 and has a young daughter, was pronounced dead at Forks Community Hospital.
A roadside memorial with a cross and flowers has appeared near the site of the collision on Calawah Way across from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Her family has declined to make a statement and has not announced a date for a memorial service.
The collision caused front-end damage to the truck, and one of LaGambina's shoes was found lodged in the frame of the truck, according to a probable-cause statement filed in court Wednesday.
In the statement, State Patrol Trooper Jason Fallon said Larson — who reported the collision to police later that night — told police he knew he had hit something but was afraid to go back and see what it was.
A passer-by spotted LaGambina in the road and called 9-1-1. Forks police who answered the call found her lying in the road at 1301 Calawah Way.
In the probable-cause statement, Larson told police he saw “a shadowy figure in the road” and tried to stop, Fallon said.
According to Fallon's report, Larson “admitted that he did not stop because his adrenaline was pumping and he was scared.
“He stated he never went back to the scene because he was afraid and did not want to see what he hit,” the statement said.
There were no apparent witnesses to the collision, Winger has said.
Fallon said Larson reported that he drove to a friend's house on Elk Loop Road, where he left his truck and received a ride to his parents' house.
On the way to his parents', he called off-duty Forks Police Officer Mike Rowley to report the collision and was instructed to stay in place and wait for officers to arrive.
After police arrived at Larson's home, he was tested for drug and alcohol consumption, and there was no indication he was under the influence of an intoxicant, Winger said.
Forks police officers found the truck where Larson had told them they would.
Investigators said LaGambina was walking against traffic in the eastbound lane, Winger said.
The State Patrol is investigating whether LaGambina was walking in the travel lane and whether she was wearing clothing that would blend into the darkness, he said.
Fallon noted that conditions were “dark and raining” at the time of the collision.
An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, Mark Nichols, Clallam County chief deputy prosecuting attorney, said Tuesday.
The county Prosecuting Attorney's Office also serves as coroner.
Calawah Way is not a state highway and is just within the Forks city limit, but the State Patrol has taken the lead on the case with assistance from the Forks Police Department and the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.
The State Patrol was called in because the agency has personnel well-trained for car-versus-pedestrian investigations and the reconstruction software needed for a felony case, City Attorney Rod Fleck said Wednesday.
Larson's pickup truck was towed to the State Patrol's Port Angeles vehicle yard as part of the investigation.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: March 13. 2013 6:09PM