Former NBA player charged with hit and run

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM

Duane Eddy Washington, 48, was arraigned Wednesday in Ottawa County District Court in Grand Haven for failing to stop at a serious personal injury accident. The Caledonia man faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the charge.

Bond was set by Judge Richard Kloote at $3,500.

Police said Washington was driving the car that hit Estella Vitins, 70, of Sparta at around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Vitins had parked her car near the 6-mile marker and was walking back toward the Fruitport exit along the shoulder of the eastbound lanes when she was struck, police said.

Vitins, who has dementia, was reported missing by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department on Monday. She is listed in fair condition at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

With help from Silent Observer tips, police found the suspect vehicle, a gray Jaguar, in Kent County's Gaines Township at around noon Tuesday.

WOOD-TV reported that, according to court documents, Washington said he was travelling at about 70 mph when he saw a woman in his headlights. He said he attempted to swerve, but claims he didn't know he hit her at first.

Washington played short stints for the New Jersey Nets in the late 1980s and Los Angeles Clippers in the early 1990s. He is the older brother of current NBA player Derek Fisher.

Washington told the court he does "not have sufficient funds to hire a lawyer," WOOD-TV reported, and the court appointed Grand Haven attorney Joe Legatz. Washington is next scheduled to appear in court for a pre-preliminary examination on Sept. 25.

Tribune reporter Becky Vargo contributed to this story.

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