By Teresa Simpson
Whitman County Gazette 

Former WSU student faces Superior Court

Fernandez faced 6 months in jail for hit-and-run charges


August 31, 2023

COLFAX — Former Washington State University (WSU) student Carmen Fernandez, 19, of Yakima, Wash., appeared in Whitman County Superior Court Thursday, Aug. 24, for hitting fellow students while drinking and driving then fleeing the scene Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.

Fernandez was arrested for two counts of vehicular assault, two counts of hit and run with injuries to person, and an account of hit and run for property damage, reports show.

Pullman police responded to a crash at Grove Apartments on Brandi way around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. Fernandez, who had been in the car with her sister and sister’s friend, struck Kaitlyn Venner and Hunter Wagner before running into a fire hydrant, rupturing the waterline.

Venner and Wagner were treated and released from Pullman Regional Hospital with no life-threatening injuries at the time of the incident.

During Fernandez’s Friday, Nov. 14, 2022, hearing, her father spoke on her behalf, paying the $1,000 cash bail for her to be released that day.

In the Thursday, Aug. 24, Superior Court hearing, Fernandez took a plea agreement with Prosecutor Denis Tracy, dropping one count of vehicular assault and all the hit and run charges, reports say.

According to reports, Tracy said that Fernandez did not have a criminal record and took full responsibility for what happened at a young age, so he reached a plea agreement with her.

Tracy asked Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey to sentence Fernandez to a middle standard range of 6 months in jail. Fernandez’s attorney asked Libey for a home monitoring sentence.

Libey sentenced Fernanxez to a maximum 9 months served at home.

“She has shown a great regard for her actions,” Libey said, adding that he did not believe any more time in the Whitman County Jail would do her, society, or the victims any good.

Fernandez can only leave her residence for work and doctor’s appointments under the sentence, and she is ordered to pay approximately $15,000 in restitution to the victims.


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