The vehicular homicide case against a Battle Ground woman accused in the death of a motorcyclist she rear-ended in August 2019 was dismissed Thursday in Clark County Superior Court.
Regina Mae Milam, 62, was charged with vehicular homicide while operating a vehicle in a reckless manner, and investigators had believed she was driving under the influence of drugs during the crash.
The motorcyclist, identified as 20-year-old Andrew Harig of Vancouver, was declared dead at the scene.
However, Milam’s attorney, Chris Ramsay, said a toxicology report showed Milam was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He said she likely suffered an epileptic seizure during the crash.
On Wednesday, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith filed a motion to dismiss the case and wrote that there is “insufficient evidence of criminal culpability at this time.”
About four months after the crash, Ramsay said Milam suffered a seizure, and he encouraged her to see a neurologist. A doctor diagnosed her with epilepsy. Ramsay said the doctor reviewed the court records in the case and determined the indicators police at the crash scene observed and believed were from drug use were likely symptoms of a seizure.
In a written statement, Smith said: “This case was originally charged as a vehicular homicide under the driving under the influence of intoxicants prong. This was based on the initial probable cause affidavit and reports available at the time of charging. Subsequent toxicology lab testing showed that Ms. Milam, in fact, did not have any alcohol or controlled substances in her system. Additional investigation revealed that Ms. Milam suffered from a previously undiagnosed medical condition, and the state is now convinced that this medical condition was the cause of the accident that killed Mr. Harig. This incident was tragic, but the evidence no longer supports a criminal prosecution.”
A judge granted the dismissal without prejudice, meaning the prosecution could re-file charges at a later date.
Vancouver police and paramedics responded shortly before 2 p.m. Aug. 2 to the intersection of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and Vancouver Mall Drive for a multi-vehicle crash, including a motorcycle, according to the probable cause affidavit.
A witness, Brittany Gregory, told investigators she was following a Toyota Camry east on Fourth Plain Boulevard and noticed it was swerving and having difficultly maintaining its lane. Gregory said the traffic signals for eastbound traffic were red and traffic was stopped, but the Toyota did not stop or slow down, according to the court document.
The Toyota crashed directly into the back of the stopped motorcycle, causing Harig to fly through the air and land in the middle of the intersection. The Toyota then struck several other vehicles before coming to a stop up on the curb on the south side of the road. The motorcycle was still attached to the hood of the Toyota, court records state.
The driver, identified by police as Milam, said “she thought she had a green light so she kept going without stopping or slowing down,” the affidavit says.
Milam told police “she did not know how the crash occurred and said the motorcycle came out of nowhere,” court records state.
A preliminary breath test found she had no alcohol in her system. However, Milam’s speech was slow, she slurred her words and repeated herself, her eyes were bloodshot and pupils constricted, and she performed poorly on field sobriety tests, according to the affidavit. Her blood was taken for toxicology testing.
According to court records, the computer in Milam’s car showed that she accelerated to nearly 60 mph right before crashing into Harig. The speed limit in the area is 35 mph. Ramsay said that was another indicator Milam was having a seizure.
Ramsay called Harig’s death “horribly tragic” and said “my client lives with this every day.” Still, he said no one should go to prison for something they’re not legally responsible for.