An Orofino man is being charged with felony vehicular manslaughter following last month’s fatal motorcycle crash at Kamiah.
Wayne M. Hodges, 22, is set for a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Magistrate Court next Monday, Aug. 19.
The charge resulted from a July 30 head-on crash on U.S. Highway 12, two miles south of Kamiah. According to court records, Hodges was driving a 2001 Acura CL eastbound when he crossed left of center, almost striking a first motorcyclist, and then struck an oncoming 2011 Harley-Davidson tricylcle-type motorcycle, driven by Joe Armstrong, 76, of Dufur, Ore. Subsequently, Armstrong died at the scene.
The accident resulted in a related crash at the same time. A 2011 Dodge 3500 pickup pulling a utility trailer, driven by Thomas Wishard, 52, of Longview, Wash., crashed into stationary farm equipment off the side of the road to avoid the initial collision.
According to court records, Hodges was charged with manslaughter as prosecutors allege gross negligence in his “crossing over the center line into oncoming traffic without any attempt to correct or stop his vehicle.”
Just prior to the crash, multiple witness observed the driver of the Acura “passed out” in his car at the Conoco gas station in Kamiah, according to court records. One witness attempted to wake the driver by banging on the window multiple times with no response, and then opened the door and poked him several times in the shoulder and spoke to him. The witness stated the driver “came to a little bit,” and he believed the driver was “too messed up to be driving.” The witness stated he told the driver he shouldn’t be driving, and the driver drove away from the Conoco westbound on US12.
Idaho State Police investigated the incident.