Alleged driver in fatal hit-and-run is arrested

His live-in girlfriend released on bail




Attorney Megan Peyton, left, and Kalista Andino, 21, exit arraignment court in Vancouver.

Vancouver police on Wednesday arrested the alleged driver in a hit-and-run collision that killed two Vancouver women in a crosswalk Jan. 19.

Brandon Smith, 27, turned himself in at the request of detectives at 5 p.m. at the police department’s West Precinct. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of hit-and-run injury, one count of vehicular assault and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

He was taken into custody without incident, said Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp, and booked into the Clark County Jail, where he was held without bail.

“The investigation is ongoing, and additional arrests are anticipated of the individuals who have tampered with evidence or provided false statements to law enforcement during the course of this investigation,” Kapp said in a statement Wednesday.

Vancouver women Raisa Mosh, 45, and Irina Gardinant, 28, died from injuries caused when they were struck by a white pickup as they crossed Vancouver Mall Drive in a crosswalk at Northeast 72nd Avenue. Mosh’s 12-year-old son, Mark, sustained a broken left hand and an abrasion on his left leg.

Smith’s arrest followed the release Wednesday of his live-in girlfriend, Kalista Andino, from Clark County Jail.

Before the fatal crash, Andino told a neighbor that Smith is an alcoholic who “frequently drives under the influence.”

The allegations are contained in a search warrant affidavit filed in Clark County District Court.

Andino, 21, and Smith’s mother, Linda Smith, 63, had been arrested Friday on suspicion of tampering with witnesses in the crash investigation. Both women posted bail Tuesday, but Judge David Gregerson refused to release Andino because of concerns about her living situation.

Linda Smith, who is not the same person as the former Vancouver congresswoman, was released from jail Tuesday on $50,000 bond to live at her home on Northwest Madrona Street.

Andino is under a court order to have no contact with Brandon Smith or his mother. On Tuesday, she asked to be released and allowed to live at her apartment on the condition that Brandon Smith would move out. Gregerson said he would approve that living situation only if Brandon Smith showed up in court Wednesday and told Gregerson he would agree to the condition. Despite posting $30,000 bail, Andino spent Tuesday night in jail.

On Wednesday morning, a flock of media crews assembled outside the courtroom poised to capture images of Smith in case he showed up, but he never did.

Instead, his attorney, Jon McMullen, appeared at Andino’s court hearing Wednesday morning. Declining to comment about his client to the judge, McMullen provided an affidavit in which Smith stated he had moved out of the couple’s residence and did not plan to return. Gregerson then agreed to release Andino from jail.

Before Andino left, Gregerson warned her that with two women dead, the court would not tolerate more interference in the investigation.

Police last week spoke to two of Andino’s neighbors. Andino reportedly told both neighbors that she doesn’t drive Smith’s 2007 white Toyota Tacoma pickup because she doesn’t know how to operate its manual transmission.

Police have impounded the damaged Toyota and other evidence, including a cellphone and a laptop. The search warrant also authorized police to take oral swabs from Brandon Smith for the purpose of DNA testing. It was unclear in court records whether police had obtained those yet.

On Tuesday, state Child Protective Services took custody of Andino and Smith’s 5-month-old daughter. Andino’s attorney, Megan Peyton, said Andino will likely be able to get her baby back from CPS after her release.

Andino, who may have been a passenger in the white pickup during the hit-and-run, is accused of confiding in a relative about the crash and then instructing the relative not to speak to police, according to a court affidavit. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu said Linda Smith contacted at least two witnesses and told them not to talk to police.

She and Andino are scheduled to be arraigned on witness tampering charges Feb. 7.