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Jim McCauley acquitted of hit-run charge

Pat McCauley expressed relief Monday following last week's jury verdict acquitting her husband, Jim, of felony hit and run and the prosecutor's dropping a charge of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

"I'm glad it turned out the way it did and that it's over. It's been a long five months," she said.

"I appreciate the people who supported us, especially the witnesses who came forward."

James McCauley, 60, and his wife, Pat, 56, both were charged in October after their car allegedly struck a pedestrian crossing a Port Angeles street on Oct. 18, 2009.

A charge against Pat McCauley of making false statements to a law enforcement officer about the incident was dismissed Jan. 12.

The couple owns InsideOut Solutions, 436 S. Sequim Ave., Sequim.

Jumped onto hood

Clallam County Deputy prosecutor Erika Soublet alleged James McCauley intentionally struck Sierra Swarm, then drove away. Port Angeles police also said Pat McCauley lied about it when they questioned her.

Larry Freedman, the McCauleys' attorney, argued that Swarm crossed against a red light, walked in front of James McCauley's car, jumped onto its hood and pounded on the windshield when McCauley stopped.

Freedman said the trial's pivotal moment was during his cross examination of Swarm.

When he proved Swarm couldn't have seen the light change as he claimed he did, Swarm grew angry, put his fist down and said no one was going to intimidate him "even if they are in a car," Freedman said.

"We proved that all the evidence showed he was the aggressor," he said.

Character witnesses

"The other part was the character witnesses such as Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger, who volunteered to testify, and Walt Schubert and Russ Veenema," he said.

Schubert is a former longtime Sequim city councilor, and Veenema is executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"These people don't just come up and say someone is a really good person unless they believe it," Freedman said.

"Nor do they spend their time at a jury trial unless they feel the person is worthy."

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.



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