PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – New court documents are shedding light on the investigation that lead to the arrest of a 90-year-old man who is accused of hitting and killing a 34-year-old woman.
Edmond Pomroy Balding appeared in court on Friday where he was arraigned on one count of criminal negligent homicide.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed late Friday by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Elisabeth A. Waner:
– Portland Police responded to the crash on March 18, 2016
– It was reported at Northeast Glisan and Northeast 117th
– Amber Lapine was walking northbound on NE 117, crossing NE Glisan
– The intersection has a rapid flashing beacon for pedestrians to use to alert approaching drivers
– One witness reported the lights were activated as Lapine crossed
– Balding was driving in the left lane, traveling eastbound on NE Glisan
– Balding struck Lapine by the front right corner of his car
– She landed 52 feet east of the crosswalk
– Balding continued to drive an additional 100 feet from the crosswalk, and point of impact before stopping
– Officers were unable to locate any skid marks or indication that Balding’s vehicle stopped or slowed before or right after the crash
– There was no evidence of “panic breaking”
– Lapine was 15.2 feet into the crosswalk when she was hit
– Balding reported to police that he was traveling to a fast food restaurant and was traveling about 30 miles per hour
– “Hypothetically, if it took (Balding) 2 seconds to perceive and react to Ms. Lapine in the crosswalk…(Balding) should have been able to stop within the 131 feet and avoided hitting Ms. Lapine altogether.”
– The sight lines leading up to the crosswalk are “very clear and a driver should have seen a pedestrian before the pedestrian even entered into the crosswalk.”
– A driver traveling westbound saw Lapine in the crosswalk and he yielded to her as she crossed
The affidavit also addresses statements Balding reportedly made following the crash.
“(Balding) repeatedly told (police) that Ms. Lapine walked right into his car, at one point stating he thought she was trying to ‘commit suicide,’” according to Waner’s affidavit.
Balding remained “adamant” that Lapine was not in the crosswalk, records show. Instead, he said she was west of the intersection – in an entirely different area then from where the impact had actually occurred.
“(Balding) said he was just looking straight ahead at the roadway and never saw anything until Ms. Lapine’s body hit his car,” Waner wrote. Balding also told police that he was driving in a different lane than the lane witnesses saw him driving in.
Balding appeared in court on Friday and was arraigned on the single charge of criminal negligent homicide. Criminal defense attorney Thomas McNair informed the court that Balding would be hiring his own attorney. A not guilty plea was entered on Balding’s behalf.
Prior to being arraigned, Balding’s wife spoke to KOIN 6 News off camera. She described the incident as “very tragic for everyone involved.”
Balding was arrested by officers with the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division on Thursday. He was released on his own recognizance. The judge presiding over his arraignment on Friday said she will allow Balding to remain out of custody while his case proceeds through the system. She ordered him not to drive in the interim. Balding’s wife said in court that he would not be driving.
According to court documents that addressed Balding’s release, he has lived in the same Northeast Portland home for 62 years. He and his wife own the home. Their disabled adult son lives with them.
Balding is retired and served in the Army, according to records. He does not drink or use drugs. He has no criminal history prior to this incident and no traffic violations.
The decision to release Balding – without a judge’s approval – reached the highest levels within the recognizance release program.
“Since the defendant has a 90 year history of no police contact and no convictions, having lived in the same house for 62 years and having local family ties, it was deemed…he was eligible for release,” county staff wrote.
Since the only car he had access to is no longer operable, and because he has been ordered not to drive, the Multnomah County Jail paid for Balding’s trip home to jail on Thursday. The jail also arraigned transportation for Friday’s arraignment to and from the courthouse.
“Transportation is going to be a major issue for (Balding),” staff wrote. “(He) is not a flight risk; he has stability and a dependent son to care for.”