Former NBA player Washington to be sentenced for hit-and-run crash

duane-washingtonA former NBA player Duane Washington has pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of an accident causing injury after a September crash that seriously hurt a 70-year-old Sparta woman, Michigan Live reported.

Estella Vitins, 70, suffered several broken bones in a leg and cuts on her right side after she was struck by a car Washington was driving on I-96 around 2 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2012.

Vitins had been walking west along the side of the freeway’s eastbound lanes. Family said she left home the previous day to get ice cream and became confused. Hours later, in the early morning hours of Sept. 18, she parked her car along the side of the highway and began to walk.

In a court affidavit, an Ottawa County sheriff’s detective said Washington admitted in a police interview to “panicking and leaving the scene” of the crash after briefly stopping.

Police used a Silent Observer tip to locate his gray Jaguar at an apartment complex in Gaines Township, near 60th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue.

According to the affidavit, Washington told authorities he was going about 70 mph on the freeway when he “saw a woman in the headlights” and attempted to swerve in the rain.

Duane Washington lives in the Caledonia area and previously told a judge he is self-employed now, teaching teens to play basketball.

Washington bonded out of the Ottawa County Jail not long after the crash.

Vitins’ family last fall said her injuries would require extensive rehabilitation. Sentencing is scheduled for June 17 at 10 a.m. in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

Washington played at Laredo Junior College, in Laredo, Texas, and Middle Tennessee State University before being taken with the 13th pick of the second round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets. He is a graduate of Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School.

Washington’s brief NBA career consisted of 19 games spanning two seasons: in 1987-88 with the New Jersey Nets and in 1992-93 with the Los Angeles Clippers.

In October 1988, while a member of the Nets, Washington was suspended for two years for violating the substance-abuse agreement.

Washington played only 15 games in his 1987-88 rookie season for the New Jersey Nets, scoring 54 points (3.6 ppg), handing out 34 assists (2.3 apg) in just 10 minutes of playing time.

Washington came back to the NBA in 1992-1993, appearing in 4 games for the Los Angeles Clippers. In those 4 games, he grabbed 2 rebounds, dished out 5 assists in overall 28 minutes of playing time. Washington averaged 2.8 ppg, 2.1 apg, 9.7 mpg in 19 NBA games.


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