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By STEPHANIE RICE, Columbian Staff Writer
An elderly woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to second-degree assault and hit-and-run for allegedly driving more than a mile with a woman on the hood of her car.
Virginia Lee Martin, who turns 70 next month, used a walker during her brief appearance before Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson.
Martin’s trial was set for May 28.
Both charges carry a sentencing range of 3 to 9 months in jail for first-time offenders.
Martin was arrested March 7 after a Vancouver police officer signaled for her to pull over after seeing her driving with a woman on her hood.
According to witnesses and police reports, Martin had just picked up her foster granddaughter from Wy’east Middle School when she gently bumped into the back of another parent’s car. The other parent, Sheryl Cresap, got out to talk to Martin, and Martin allegedly refused to exchange insurance information. Cresap started to write down Martin’s license plate number when, witnesses said, Martin backed up her car and rolled forward, striking Cresap in the knees and knocking her down.
With Cresap clinging to her hood, Martin allegedly drove for a mile and a half. She was followed by other parents and numerous people called 911.
Cresap had bruised knees but no other obvious injuries, according to police.
Court-appointed defense attorney Michael Foister said Wednesday that Martin has a clean record. He said Martin has diabetes and a thyroid condition; according to court records, Martin’s daughter told a corrections officer that her mother suffers from depression.
Foister said he wants to explore whether Martin had a bad reaction to her medication.
“I want to know what was going through everybody’s mind,” Foister said.
Martin, who posted $10,000 bail, will live in her Harney Heights home with her sister pending trial.
“She’s a very sweet lady,” Foister said.
Stephanie Rice covers the courts. She can be contacted at 360-759-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.