Hillsboro man jailed for crash that killed 11-year-old in her yard

A Washington County grand jury has indicted a 59-year-old Hillsboro man whose car crashed into a front yard in Aloha in April, killing 11-year-old Kylie Hornych.

The grand jury handed down a secret indictment on Aug. 22 charging David Alan Herman with second-degree manslaughter and reckless driving. Herman’s diabetic medical condition was a factor in the crash, said Sgt. Bob Ray, Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.HERMAN

Deputies arrested Herman at about 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 at his home. He pleaded not guilty during a Monday arraignment before Washington County Circuit Judge Gayle Nachtigal.

Herman’s next court appearance, a case assignment hearing, is on Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 24.

As of Tuesday, Herman was still being held at the Washington County Jail, pending $250,000 bail.

A “secret indictment” is relatively commonplace, Ray said. “It’s just not letting people know their case is before the grand jury until we go to his house and arrest him. It happens all the time. It’s just not letting the cat out of the bag. We don’t want people making our jobs harder for us.”

The arrest was connected to the April 4 fatal collision that killed Kylie Hornych. According to court documents, at 5 p.m. on that Thursday, Kylie, a fifth-grade student at Chehalem Elementary School, was in her front yard in the 5200 block of 160th Avenue. She was talking to neighbors about a science project when Herman’s car, a 2007 Prius, left the road, crossed a sidewalk and struck Kylie.

Daniel Lorenz, a Portland attorney representing Kylie’s parents, Daniel and Kellie Hornych, said they welcomed the report that Herman had been arrested.

“The family is very happy the district attorney reviewed the evidence and went back and did the job they should have done in the first place,” Lorenz said. “They are very hopeful justice will be done. It has been a very, very difficult struggle for them.”

Another crash

Moments before hitting Hornych, Herman had been involved in a separate crash. In the initial collision, according to the report from deputies who responded to the scene, a man driving a 2010 Jeep Wrangler northbound on Southwest 160th Avenue was hit head-on. The driver of the Jeep then watched the Prius continue southbound, still in the northbound lane. The Prius continued across Southwest Farmington Road and left the roadway, striking Kylie and coming to rest against her family’s house.

Other witnesses told deputies the Prius was traveling fast after striking the Wrangler. There was no evidence the car driven by Herman made any attempt to stop before the collision.

After the crash, Kellie Hornych said Herman made no attempt to communicate or move.

“The driver just sat in his car,” she said on April 10. “He did not ask if (Kylie) was OK. He did nothing but sit there.”

The girl died in the ambulance on her way to a local hospital for treatment.

Daniel and Kellie Hornych held two memorial services for Kylie, who has two sisters, Kyrah and Kristina, and a 14-year-old brother Daniel.

Kellie recalled Kylie as an equal opportunity bearer of warmth and positive spirit.

“Kylie was a very loving sensitive little girl,” she said. “She loved people and loved to make others smile. If someone was upset she would cheer them up, without any hesitation. It didn’t matter if she knew you or not, she had a smile for everyone. No one was sad when Kylie was around. She made sure of that.”

Medical issues

Ray said the grand jury got involved in the case because Herman was allegedly not being open about his background.

“We had information he was involved in a crash several years earlier that was very similar to the crash that claimed Kylie’s life, which he didn’t tell us about,” said Ray. “He was very deceiving and deceptive, and did not come forward with critical information.”

While driving in Beaverton in 2007, Herman struck another vehicle and hit a tree, totaling his vehicle. There were no suffered significant injuries as a result of that wreck.

“Once we realized he wasn’t honest about that crash report, we started doing more digging,” added Ray.

Herman is a diabetic, a condition that reportedly triggered the wreck in 2007 as well as in April this year. However, Ray pointed out that having a medical condition is not a license to be reckless.

“He was having a diabetic event. But was he reckless in taking care of himself?” Ray asked. “Having a medical condition doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if you cause something.”

Beaverton Valley Times reporter Shannon O. Wells contributed to this story.

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