Driver's past diabetic episode record didn't make it to prosecutors

Driver's past diabetic episode record didn't make it to prosecutors »Play Video
This photo of 11-year-old Kylie Hornych was displayed onstage at her memorial service. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – An investigator looked at the driving record of the man who ran over an 11-year-old girl in her yard and killed her but the information about a past diabetic episode never made it to the district attorney, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office on Friday.

On April 4 David Herman suffered a diabetic episode, lost control of his car and hit and killed Kylie Hornych while she was in her yard at Southwest 160th Avenue and Farmington in Aloha.

After an investigation, prosecutors decided not to charge Herman with any crime because they said they couldn't find any criminal wrongdoing.

Investigative documents obtained by KATU News show that Herman had told detectives that he had a good history of managing his diabetes and had only passed out one other time while working in the yard. As far as his blood sugar as a diabetic, he told an investigator “he has never felt low or off while driving."

But KATU News found additional documents from August 2007 that showed Herman had some kind of illness or blackout related to his diabetes, which caused him to crash into a tree on Northwest Science Park Drive in Washington County. In that case, the police report said he told a deputy he was diabetic. The deputy didn't write him a ticket but told Herman to stop and eat something the next time he began feeling ill.

KATU News made the Washington County district attorney aware of the previous crash, which prompted the DA and the sheriff's office to reopen the case.

Within hours of learning about the previous crash, detectives went out and met with Herman and re-interviewed.
 
"As far as the previous crash, the investigator, the initial investigator, did run Mr. Herman's driving record and this information, for some reason, did not make it all the way up to the district attorney," said Sgt. Bob Ray, spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office. "And I truly want to thank you for getting this information up to our attention."

He said the investigator only looked at Herman's driving record electronically. He doesn't know if the 2007 crash showed up in the record investigators saw. But what is known is it never made it in written form for the prosecutor to review. He said he doesn't know how that information didn't get to the DA.

Ray said the sheriff's office has no less than four detectives following up on the new leads because of the information KATU News provided it. It is also looking at a change in how it works by having the Major Crimes Team take a second look at complex cases before they are sent to the DA.

Family reacts to reopening of case

"It sounds to me like this man lied when he said that he had never had an incident before and now of course it's coming out that he did have another incident, and that concerns me a lot," Hornych's grandmother, Carolyn Duffy, said Friday.

Hornych's family also wants to set the record straight. They say Hornych wasn't playing in her front yard the day she died as investigators said. She wasn't allowed to play out there.

"The neighbor girl next door had left her scooter and Kylie, being the sweet person she is, says, 'I'll go get your scooter for you and bring it to you.' She was just coming back from that. She was just standing right in front of her front door when this man crashed into her," said Duffy.

Hornych's family says they are not out for vengeance against Herman. Her aunt, Tracie Thompson, even understands better than most the responsibility diabetics face when they drive. She understands, because she has diabetes too.

"I carry around this $1.99 bottle of glucose tablets that you can get just about anywhere and make sure that I have something on hand at all times to combat a low if it happens," she said.