Arrest Made in Murder of 20-Year-Old Quinault Tribal Member Jimmy Smith-Kramer
King 5 News, May 31, 2017
A 31-year-old Hoquiam man was arrested Tuesday evening in connection to a hit-and-run at a Grays Harbor County campground that killed one man and injured another Saturday. The suspect has been booked into the Grays Harbor County Corrections Facility for second-degree homicide.
Investigators released new information Wednesday that three passengers were in the truck that ran over the men. A 27-year-old Hoquiam woman, a 29-year-old Hoquiam man and a 30-year-old Hoquiam woman were interviewed. Prosecutors will decide whether to pursue charges against these passengers.
Detectives say the driver of the pickup truck intentionally ran over the men. He is scheduled for a preliminary court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
The white pickup truck was seized as evidence, according to Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office.
Jimmy Smith-Kramer, 20, of Taholah died at the hospital. Harvey Anderson, 19, of Aberdeen was recovering at home after initially being listed in critical condition.
The two men are members of the Quinault Tribe and the tribe believes this is a hate crime, though the sheriff’s office says at this point they don’t believe race is a factor.
Anderson spoke Monday about the scary ordeal and the search for the person responsible.
“It still hasn’t really hit me. I’m still wondering why this happened,” said Anderson. “We were out camping for Jimmy’s birthday. We were all just out there having a good time, enjoying life. And this white truck pulls up, and they want to party and hang out, and we’re like ‘dude, we’re not partying.’ Then they start spinning doughnuts and acting crazy.”
It happened at a campground next to Donkey Creek in Humptulips, north of Hoquiam. Anderson said things escalated quickly once they asked the driver of the white pickup truck to stop spinning doughnuts.
“Then he hit his reverse lights and was going 20 mph in reverse, and Jimmy turned around and ran and tried to save me, like tried to get me out of the way,” he said. “It was within five minutes, ten minutes, this all happened. We were just minding our own business camping.”
“Jimmy died a hero and he suffered his deadly injuries as he dove and shoved his friend Harvey out of harm’s way,” Larry Ralston, Quinault tribal treasurer, said in a statement.
Anderson said it was only after the driver hit him and Smith-Kramer that one of their friends threw a rock at the truck, to stop the vehicle from leaving the scene. Initial reports indicated the rocks were thrown before the truck hit them.
“After all of this happened my friend grabbed a rock and threw it at the truck and chased it all the way up the hill, all the way back up before he lost sight of the truck,” he said.
Investigators have said they believe the driver ran the two men over on purpose.
“He knew what he was doing. He reversed into these kids,” said Rich Underwood, who is Smith-Kramer’s uncle. “Jim pushed Harvey out of the way. After he hit him, he pulls forward and runs over him again.”
Anderson was left with scrapes and road rash all over his body, bruised lungs, and a sternum. But he said the pain of losing his friend is what hurts most of all.
“We didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve any of this. We need something, someone to come forward. We need some justice. Justice for Jimmy,” said Anderson.
Doctors told Smith-Kramer’s family he would not regain consciousness and declared him brain dead over the weekend.
His family has decided to donate his organs.
Witnesses say a woman who was in the passenger seat was screaming for the driver to stop.
“To reverse over us and then go back over us and leave, I mean you’ve got to know you hit something,” said Anderson.