Man found guilty of 2018 hit-and-run that killed Liberty Lake wife, grandmother
Jan. 23, 2020
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The man who police say hit and killed a Liberty Lake woman and fled the scene has been found guilty of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of the fatal crash, according to the victim's husband.
In 2018, Liberty Lake Police arrested 21-year-old Pavel Kanyushkin for the crime. His victim, 61-year-old Marilyn K. Dhaenens, was out on her daily walk when she was killed.
Marilyn was a beloved wife, mother and realtor. Her husband Scott Dhaenens told KHQ's Hayley Guenthner Marilyn was their family's "rock."
Scott was one of the first witnesses to testify in Kanyushkin's trial which began last week. He says after the guilty verdict was read Wednesday, Kanyushkin was escorted to jail to await his February 21 sentencing.
The fatal hit and run happened near E. Mission Ave and E. Country Vista Drive in October of 2018. Arriving officers found firefighters already on scene working on a woman with obvious injuries about 50 feet south of the intersection, according to court documents.
Additional resources and investigators were called to the scene. During the investigation of the crash scene, officers contacted a nearby elementary school to look at surveillance footage. Officers on scene also noted no noticeable vehicle debris, or brake marks indicating the driver tried to stop or avoid collision. No witnesses were found that saw the hit-and-run crash, court documents say.
Spokane County Sheriff's deputies also arrived on scene to help with the investigation and used an aerial drone to document the scene.
An officer took several pictures from the elementary school's surveillance footage, which appeared to show a truck speeding past the school around the time of the crash.
Documents say that during the course of the investigation, an officer received a phone call from Kanyushkin. Kanyushkin explained that his family had contacted him and told the officer he had an "alibi," which the officer noted in his report that he found it to be "an odd statement to make at the beginning of a phone call." Kanyushkin told the officer he was at work at 8 a.m.
The officer met Kanyushkin and looked at his truck. The officer wrote in his report that the truck looked strikingly like the one from the surveillance footage, and that the truck had a dent on the hood and what looked like fresh damage to the grill under the dented hood.
While checking out the truck, the officer asked Kanyushkin some questions, according to court documents. He told the officer the damage to the truck was because he just purchased the truck and the previous owner had hit a tree.
According to court documents, the officer also spoke with Kanyushkin boss, who after initially reporting that Kanyushkin got to work at 8 a.m., said it was more likely he got to work at 9 a.m., after his boss sent him to pick up ladders from another work site. The officer reported that the most likely way to get from his house to the work site to pick up ladders would be through the intersection where the hit-and-run happened.
The officer asked Kanyushkin if he could seize his truck for evidence and Kanyushkin gave it up. Documents show that two plastic pieces found at the scene of the crash appeared to match pieces missing from Kanyushkin's truck, which placed the truck at the scene of the hit-and-run.
Court documents say that on October 22, officers interviewed Kanyushkin and, after being read his rights, he confessed his involvement in the crash. Kanyushkin told the officer there was frost and sunlight on the windshield as he went through the intersection and he did not see anyone, but did feel something like "hopping the curb" as he went through the intersection. He told the officer that he looked and didn't see anything, so he continued on his way.
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