Clallam County Sheriff's Detective Josh Ley examining evidence in the fatal Port Angeles hit-and-run case. ()

Clallam County Sheriff's Detective Josh Ley examining evidence in the fatal Port Angeles hit-and-run case. ()

Port Angeles police impound car in fatal hit-and-run case

PORT ANGELES — Police have impounded a vehicle officers believe was involved in Monday’s hit-and-run that killed Robert Simmons, 50, of Port Angeles.

Port Angeles police impounded a white 1995 Geo Prism on Wednesday and talked to a suspect, they said in a news release.

The person was cooperative and was not taken into custody, they said.

The suspect was not identified. Asked if the suspect was thought to have been the driver, Port Angeles Police Detective Jason Viada said the case remained under investigation.

Viada also said he could not elaborate on what led police to the vehicle, where it was found or why the suspect was not taken into custody.

“The case is still open and active,” he said. “We appreciate all the citizens that did provide information in this case.”

He said people no longer need to be looking for a damaged white car.

Police found Simmons unconscious and barely breathing, with a faint pulse, after investigating a report of a hit-and-run at 10:47 p.m. Monday in the 2000 block of West 18th Street near a Clallam County Public Utility District building.

He stopped breathing and police performed CPR before Port Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived, Smith said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Simmons died about three blocks from his home at Maloney Heights, a housing complex for the chronically homeless, operated by Serenity House.

Results of an autopsy performed Thursday were not yet available.

Hold driver accountable

His sister, Shelley Simmons, said Thursday the driver of the car needs to be held accountable for the death of her brother.

“He still had family members that loved him,” she said.

She said the driver should have stayed on scene after hitting her brother.

“Whether they hit a dog or a person . . . you just don’t drive away,” she said.

Shelley Simmons said she was the only immediate family her brother had living in Port Angeles, though he has more relatives in the area.

Much of Simmons’ family still lives in California, she said.

Robert Simmons moved to Washington in 1994. In Port Angeles, he had coached youth football and had worked at Westport, she said.

“He was a good guy. He had a heart of gold and talked for hours,” she said. “He’d tell stories from different places he’s been and what he’s done.”

He loved football, she said.

“The Steelers were his favorite team forever and ever,” she said. “At one point he was coaching youth football.

“He had stuff happen and didn’t do it any longer, but his goal was to get back into doing that.”

Her brother loved God, she said.

“He believed that God was there to help him and give him hope,” she said.

For the past several months, Simmons had frequented the Salvation Army, where those who knew him described him as humble, gentle and a man of faith struggling to overcome his addiction to alcohol.

Maj. Sabrina Tumey said he wanted to overcome his addiction so he could coach again.

Tumey said Simmons wanted to set a good example for the young people he hoped to coach, and knew he needed to be sober to do so.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected]

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