Bail set at $1M for Vancouver hit-run suspect

Brandon Smith at his first court appearance on hit-and-run charges that left two women dead, Jan. 30, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Brandon Smith at his first court appearance on hit-and-run charges that left two women dead, Jan. 30, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) – The man accused of hitting and killing two women with his pickup truck in Vancouver and then fleeing the scene will remain in jail for at least another week.

Brandon Smith, 27, makes his first appearance in Clark County Circuit Court on multiple hit-and-run charges. He is accused of driving a truck Jan. 19, 2014, that struck and killed two women in a Vancouver, Wash., crosswalk. Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)
(KOIN 6 News)

Brandon Smith, 27, made his first appearance Thursday in Clark County Superior Court on multiple charges, including vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, first-degree vehicular assault and tampering with physical evidence. His bail was set at $1 million. A judge ordered him held until his arraignment Feb. 7.

Smith turned himself in to detectives on Wednesday. His girlfriend and mother were arrested in the case last week.

Smith showed little emotion, providing abrupt, stern responses to the judge.

Clark County District Attorney Kasey Wu told the judge Wednesday that on the night of the crash, Smith was driving recklessly, did not stop after hitting the victims, and made no effort to either render medical aid or call 911. Wu also claimed that Smith received help from family and friends to cover up the crime.

Meanwhile, Smith’s defense attorney Jon McMullen said that Smith was not a flight risk, had no criminal record, and argued that if Smith wanted to flee, he would have done so already.

The judge stated that he set bail at $1 million because Smith did not currently have a listed address. On Tuesday, McMullen presented a signed affidavit from Smith that stated he would move out of the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Kalista Andino, who was released from jail Wednesday afternoon. The couple’s 5-month old daughter has been taken into state protective custody.

Vancouver police allege that on the night of Jan. 19, Smith was driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that struck and killed 45-year-old Raisha Mosh and 28-year-old Irina Gardinant. They say Andino was a passenger in the truck.

Smith’s mother, 63-year-old Linda Smith, and his girlfriend, Andino, were arrested Jan. 24 on witness tampering charges. Both have been released on bail. McMullen said Wednesday that his client should not be held responsible for whatever actions his mother and girlfriend took.

Mosh and Gardinant were in a crosswalk at Northeast 72nd Avenue and Vancouver Mall Drive when they were hit by a pickup truck. The truck was headed south on 72nd and turning east onto Vancouver Mall Drive when it struck them, and then sped away.

On Jan. 21, investigators seized Smith’s 2007 Toyota Tacoma from the apartment complex at 7609 NE Vancouver Mall Dr., where he and Andino lived. The vehicle had “significant front-end damage,” according to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday.

The affidavit also states that when detectives searched the couple’s apartment after seizing the truck, they took an Apple laptop  into evidence. On it, investigators found an Amazon.com order dated Jan. 20 that included a “Grille Assembly Plastic Shell, chrome and black as well as a pair of Toyota Tacoma Chrome headlights,” documents read.

Meanwhile, Linda Smith and Andino were scheduled to appear in court as well Feb. 7. The two could face more criminal charges. Vancouver police have said that more people could be arrested.

Brent Weisberg and Faris Tanyos contributed to this report.

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