Man arrested in Grays Harbor County fatal hit-and-run, after deputies said they didn’t see race as a factor

The Quinault Indian Nation is standing by its contention that the driver of a pickup was screaming racial slurs and war whoops when he ran over the two tribal members Saturday, killing one.

A Hoquiam man has been arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old in what witnesses told authorities was an intentional hit-and-run early Saturday at a Grays Harbor County campground.

The Sheriff’s Office reported the arrest of the 30-year-old in a news release Tuesday night, adding that a white 4 x 4 pickup had been seized. The man was to be booked into the county jail.

The arrest came as deputies continued to investigate the incident that left one Quinault tribal member, Jimmy Smith-Kramer, dead, and another injured. Earlier Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office reported that no evidence had been found to indicate race was a factor in what occurred at the campground, despite a strongly worded statement issued by the tribe.

“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 Daves Pimentel said Tuesday.

But the tribe was standing by its statement.

“The account in our press release is a firsthand account from a tribal youth,” Fawn Sharp, the Quinault Indian Nation president, said Tuesday. “She was there and related to us her eyewitness observation.”

“To say there’s no evidence — well, from our perspective, this is the sort of thing our young people just don’t make up,” she added.

As police searched for a suspect, they said they were looking for a man described as a white male in his 30s with dark hair and driving a white late-1990s Chevrolet pickup. Authorities said he drove the pickup into the campground on the Humptulips River off Donkey Creek Road about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, where Smith-Kramer was camping…

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