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No Charges Yet in Ambaum Pedestrian Rundown, Says King County Sheriff’s Office

by Greg Wright

The King County Sheriff’s Office, through whom Burien contracts its police services, issued the following statement [1] on Monday:

A 13 year-old Burien girl was injured yesterday (August 7th) after she was struck by a pick-up truck about 7:15 PM. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

The accident occurred when the girl, her sister, and a friend were all crossing Ambaum Blvd in a marked crosswalk at SW 154th. The driver of a 1990 Ford Ranger was northbound on Ambaum and apparently didn’t see the pedestrians.

The victim was just ahead of the other two in the crosswalk and she was the only one hit.

The driver is a 52 year-old man from Burien. He was not booked into jail or cited pending additional investigation.

Detectives believe alcohol on the part of the driver may have been a contributing factor to the accident.

An early report by KOMO News [2] quoted Sgt. John Hall as saying the driver of the vehicle had been “arrested for investigation of vehicular assault.”    Yesterday, KIRO TV added [3] that, although the driver was initially taken into custody, he “hasn’t been booked into jail or cited, pending further investigation by police.”

Late last night, KOMO’s Ray Lane added the following [4]:

Detectives estimate the driver was going about 45 miles per hour – possibly faster – when he slammed into [the girl] on Sunday. Whitney [Sellers], who was walking across busy Ambaum Boulevard with her younger sister and cousin at the time, was thrown by the impact and landed some 25 feet away.

Deputies took the driver into custody, but he has not been arrested.

“It makes me angry,” said [mother Jennifer] Shields. “And I definitely would want to see something happen.”

The family has been told that results of blood-alcohol tests, which will help make decision about possible charges, will take two to three weeks. But the family wants to know why the man is allowed to roam free in the meantime, especially as Whitney lies in the hospital in pain.

“If he, in fact, was drinking and driving, that’s my biggest thing,” said Shields. “I would never want this to happen to anybody else.”

Detectives have also told the family they’re looking into whether a medical situation could have also been a factor in the crash.

According to Lane, the family reports that Jennifer is scheduled to undergo a “series of surgeries” today.

“It’ll probably be a couple months before she can try to learn how to walk again,” said mother Jennifer Shields.

Whitney’s pelvis is shattered in five places. Her hip is broken. There’s a pin in one of her knees, and her chin is fractured.

A call to King County’s Sgt. John Urquhart this morning confirmed that there have been no new developments in either citation, charges, or arrest.  Urquhart emphasized that any new developments will be weeks in coming.

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