Quincy man charged in hit-and-run
A family driving through Quincy on Sunday was allegedly followed through town by two local teenagers who then rammed the family’s vehicle with their own and broke out a tail light with a baseball bat.
Michael S. Vreeman, 18, was charged earlier this week in Grant County Superior Court with second-degree assault and hit and run.
Charges are pending against the 16-year-old male passenger who was with Vreeman.
The incident happened at about 10 p.m. on Aug. 9.
The victim, Ryan A. Hartzell, 32, told the Quincy Police Department that he was driving eastbound on Highway 28, heading into Quincy, when a red Mitsubishi Eclipse came out of an orchard in front of him.
As Hartzell entered Quincy, the Eclipse allegedly pulled into the left turn lane near the Starr Ranch packing shed and “smashed” into his car, according to the police report. The Eclipse then “rode his bumper into town with the high beams on,” according to the report.
Hartzell turned on a couple of streets in Quincy in an attempt to keep the car from following him; however, when he was stopped at a stop sign at 6th Avenue and F Street Southeast, the Eclipse pulled up next to his car.
A passenger from the Eclipse then allegedly left the vehicle, swinging a baseball bat at the rear of Hartzell’s car, breaking the driver’s side tail light, according to the police report. The Eclipse then sped away.
Four children were reportedly in Hartzell’s car. Amanda Helfrich, 34, a passenger in Hartzell’s car, told police she feared for the safety of her children.
After police arrived at the scene, Hartzell gave a description of the driver as well as the Eclipse and a partial license plate number to police.
While returning to the Quincy police station, Officer Stephen Harder located a car matching the description given by Hartzell parked at a gas station at 308 F St. S.E. Vreeman was there with the 16-year-old male.
The officer found damage “consistent with the damage on Hartzell’s car” on the passenger side of the Eclipse, according to the report.
However, Vreeman, when questioned about the damage, insisted it had been on the car since he bought it more than a year ago. Vreeman also told the officer he was at a friend’s house all evening, according to the report.
Police contacted Hartzell, who was in Moses Lake, to identify the car and suspects. Hartzell and Helfrich both positively identified not only the car but also Vreeman and his passenger, the report states.
“Hartzell and Helfrich said they were 100 percent positive on all three identifications,” the report states.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com