No new updates from Grays Harbor County as the hunt for a murderer is on. Jimmy Smith-Kramer was run over & the driver fled. pic.twitter.com/q4uTCcJ1fM— Jon Humbert (@jonhumbert) May 30, 2017
Far from honoring fallen soldiers, the driver of a pickup truck chose Memorial Day weekend to run his truck over two Native American tribal members celebrating a birthday party.
The Quinault Indian Nation is standing by its argument that a white male in his mid-30s with dark hair and a cropped beard, intentionally ran over 20-year-old Jimmy Smith-Kramer and 19-year-old Harvey Anderson, killing Smith-Kramer in the process.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of May 27 at Donkey Creek Campground near Hoquiam, Washington, where a group of Quinault tribal members were celebrating Smith-Kramer’s 20th birthday, when a white truck came upon them. The driver started spinning doughnuts around the campsite but when some of the campers told him to stop, the situation escalated.
A scuffle between the driver and the campers erupted during which the white man reportedly backed up toward the camp, running over two Native Americans on a gravel bar. He then drove quickly off leaving the two campers grievously injured on the ground.
The Quinault Nation statement said campers reported hearing the driver scream “racial slurs and war whoops” as he hit the two men.
The two victims were taken to the hospital but Smith-Kramer soon succumbed to his injuries. Anderson was hospitalized and upon his release said his friend leapt on top of him before the truck struck them.
“We both got ran over, but he saved me from taking a full-on collision,” Anderson said.
The tribe is claiming that the attack was a hate crime, however, the sheriff department said there is no evidence of it.
“We haven’t found one person, including the surviving victim, who has been able to tell us that there were any racial slurs thrown out there during this incident,” Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Dave Pimentel said Tuesday.
However, the Quinhault tribe stands by its claim.
“The driver was screaming racial slurs and war whoops when he ran over the two tribal members,” it added. “A woman passenger in the truck, also described as a Caucasian in her 30s was screaming at the driver trying to make him stop.”
“The account in our press release is a firsthand account from a tribal youth,” Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, said Tuesday. “She was there and related to us her eyewitness observation.”
“If it is, in fact, determined that this was a hate crime it will add even more distress and sadness to our loss of this outstanding young man and the injury of the other,” he added in a statement.
Larry Ralston, a tribal council members and former Quinault police chief said non-Natives may not recognize the intolerance the tribe faces.
“Having grown up in the (Grays) Harbor and dealing with racism, we do recognize that there’s different ways of viewing it,” whose daughter raised Smith-Kramer after his mother died.
Family members said the young man was a keen hunter and is survived by his twin children.