Family has different account of crash

Kohlten Barringer-Mahitka was bruised, and his scooter bent, when he was struck by a car Wednesday on Mesford Street.    - Megan Stephenson / Herald
Kohlten Barringer-Mahitka was bruised, and his scooter bent, when he was struck by a car Wednesday on Mesford Street.
— image credit: Megan Stephenson / Herald

POULSBO — A 16-year-old driver is being cited for an intermediate driver’s license violation after his car struck a 13-year-old boy Wednesday, about 11:30 a.m., on Mesford Street near Karl Court.

Deputy Police Chief Wendy Davis said the investigation was continuing Thursday. The boy was taken by ambulance to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and was home Thursday recovering from  swelling on the right side of his head; a bruised left elbow, shoulder and hip; and abrasions — also known as road rash — on his left side.

Police have determined that the teen driver had three other teens in the car with him, a violation. According to state law, a driver younger than 18 is issued an intermediate driver’s license. For the first six months, he or she can’t drive with passengers younger than 20 unless they are immediate family.

The boy and the people in the car have differing accounts of what happened.

One of the individuals in the car told police the boy was heading in the same direction as the car and then hopped off the curb and “went into the vehicle,” Davis said.

Kohlten Barringer-Mahitka, the boy who was struck, said the car appeared to be about 100 yards away — near the entrance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — when he started to cross the street. He was struck on his left side by the driver’s side of the car. His head hit the driver’s side of the windshield and his body took off the driver’s side rear view mirror.

Jamie Barringer, the boy’s mother, said she believes the car was speeding. If the car was traveling at a safe speed and her son darted in front of the car, he would have been struck by the passenger side of the car, she said.

Barringer said her son crossed the street about 10 feet in front of a marked crossing (measurements at the scene by the Herald on Thursday indicate the collision occurred approximately 50 feet from the crosswalk). Davis said vehicle speed can’t be determined, because there were no skid marks. But she said Kolhten had a responsibility to yield to oncoming traffic if he crossed outside a crosswalk.

Kolhten said Thursday he doesn’t remember much of what happened. He remembers seeing the car down the road, and the next thing he knew he was on a stretcher being lifted into the ambulance.

“They told me I got hit. I didn’t believe them at first,” Kohlten said.

Officer Ricki Sabado spoke with the family Thursday morning, asking them to fill out a statement and send in pictures of the boy’s injuries. The family hired a lawyer, Anthony Otto of Port Orchard, on Thursday.

“The only thing we would like out of this is for the driver to be honest and for his insurance to pay for my son’s medical bills — and a new scooter,” Barringer said. “We’re not trying to run this family into the ground.” If the investigation finds the driver at fault, she said, there will be no need for an attorney.

Barringer said a part of the problem is how drivers treat Mesford Street — “as a drag [race] road.” She said she and her neighbors want to petition the city to install speed bumps to slow drivers down.

“I don’t want [Kohlten] to have to be the precedence, but I’m sorry, something has to be done.”

— With reporting by Richard Walker, Megan Stephenson and Kipp Robertson


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