PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County Superior Court judge sentenced a 72-year-old grandmother to jail Tuesday for her part in an alleged road rage incident May 8, 2018 in the Volunteer Field parking lot against the recommendation of the prosecution and defense.
Judge Lauren Erickson meted out punishment of six days in jail with credit for one day served to Helen Sue Corbin of Port Angeles, who would have been the second oldest inmate among 105 in the jail if she had begun serving her sentence Tuesday. One inmate is 75.
Corbin’s driver’s license also was suspended for one year.
Corbin also must prove she is continuing to receive mental health treatment at Peninsula Behavioral Health rather than obtain a mental health evaluation.
The prosecuting attorney’s office and Clallam Public Defender had agreed that a 30-day sentence converted to 240 hours of community service was more warranted than incarceration.
In her change of plea and sentencing hearing Tuesday, Corbin pleaded guilty to amended charges of gross-misdemeanor hit-and-run attended and misdemeanor resisting arrest.
Corbin had pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, second-degree malicious mischief and resisting arrest.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sarah Woolman and Clallam Public Defender lawyer John Hayden said their accident-reconstruction experts agreed that it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Corbin intentionally rammed Port Angeles resident Tammy Gregory’s vehicle the afternoon of May 8.
The experts concluded both vehicles were moving at a slow speed at the time of the collision, Woolman said in a later interview.
“We do believe Corbin was driving in a reckless manner,” Woolman added.
Woolman said during the hearing that the incident appeared to be “a road rage-type” occurrence.
Erickson sentenced Corbin to jail time following Gregory’s tearful victim impact statement.
Gregory said Corbin intentionally backed up, then ran into the back of her SUV, which contained her 14-year-old teenage son, causing $3,500 damage.
“All of a sudden, we were just rammed from behind like a derby car,” Gregory said.
“The impact lurched our car forward.”
After the collision, Gregory said Corbin got out of her car and started walking toward her.
“I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do,” Gregory said.
“She scared the crap out of us that day.
“I really wish you would consider a harsher sentence, because this is just not right.”
Erickson’s 36-day jail sentence included 30 days converted to 240 hours of community service, but said Corbin will have to begin serving her five days in jail Thursday, March 14.
“I agree with Miss Gregory,” Erickson said.
“I think there needs to be a little more than just 30 days converted.”
According to the case report Corbin, who did not address Erickson during the change-of-plea hearing Tuesday, said she was at the intersection of L Street and Lauridsen Boulevard, in Corbin’s neighborhood, when there was a confrontation at about 4 p.m. May 8.
Gregory was turning on to L Street and “said something to the effect, ‘Better watch out old lady!’ and flipped her off,” Corbin said, according to the case report.
Gregory said she looked at Corbin, who according to Gregory was blocking the intersection, “and held up her arm to convey ‘what the heck.’ ”
Corbin, telling authorities that Gregory had angered her, said she followed Gregory to the Volunteer Field parking lot to tell her to “show more respect.”
That’s where Gregory hit Corbin’s car while going into a parking space, Corbin said.
Corbin’s account was inconsistent with the SUV damage and an eyewitness’ account, according to the case report.
Port Angeles Police Officer Dan Morse and county Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Moon had to pull Corbin out of her vehicle after she physically resisted arrest, according to the report.
Corbin had an unrelated no-contact order against her at the time of her arrest and had appeared in court as required 25 times, Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender said at Corbin’s first court appearance.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.