Trial ordered in collision case

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SANDPOINT — A Cocolalla man who accidentally struck and injured a student at a bus stop last fall was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for leaving the scene of an injury crash.

Jason Dwight Newsome invoked his right to remain silent during his preliminary hearing in Bonner County Magistrate Court.

Newsome, 37, is scheduled to be arraigned on the felony charge in 1st District Court on Feb. 12. He is free on his own recognizance while the case is pending.

The charge flows from an October 2017 collision at a bus stop on Gun Club Road. The 7-year-old boy’s family told Idaho State Police that a man later identified as Newsome delivered the boy to his home in an adjacent trailer park. Newsome allegedly admitted hitting the boy and said he would return later to provide his name and motorist information.

“I said, ‘OK.’ I was worried about getting (the boy) to the hospital,” testified Eric Nordland, one of the boy’s relatives.

Nordland said the man never returned, although Newsome was later identified as the driver because his wife called Bonner General Hospital to falsely report that she was the one who struck the boy, according to Idaho State Police.

Newsome was confronted by a trooper and he admitted accidentally striking the boy. Newsome told the trooper he did not see the boy because of early-morning darkness and fog.

Newsome’s defense counsel, Sandpoint attorney Fred Palmer, sought to block some of Trooper Kirk Mattila because his client’s statements were not voluntary and the product of coercion.

Palmer noted that the trooper advised Newsome that he was being arrested on misdemeanor charges of failing to report a collision and obstructing law enforcement. As a result, Newsome was unaware that authorities were contemplating a felony charge and was induced into making incriminating remarks, Palmer argued.

Judge Justin Julian, however, overruled the objection.

Mattila recounted Newsome’s confession.

“He said he was scared. He had a suspended driver’s license,” Mattila testified.

Deputy Prosecutor Katie Murdock argued that Newsome failed to uphold his obligations as a motorist involved in a collision.

“He certainly did not provide his driver’s license, name or address,” said Murdock.

Palmer disputed the state’s contention that Newsome did not render aid, which is also required under state law.

“Assistance was provided. He did stop at the scene,” said Palmer.

Julian found that Newsome did stop and render aid, although he came up short on his obligation to identify himself.

“The place where the defendant fell down was his unwillingness to give his name,” said Julian.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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