Kennewick nurse hit likely out of work for year

KENNEWICK — A Kennewick woman struck in an alleged hit-and-run by a friend Sunday remains in the hospital and said she likely will be unable to work for a year.

Aimee Dilger, 33, talked to the Herald on Friday about the severity of her injuries and the long recovery she has ahead of her after being hit early Sunday in the 4600 block of South Garfield Street.

Kennewick police say Dilger's friend, Bobi Jennings, 29, of Kennewick, has been identified as the driver of a SUV that hit Dilger as she stopped to talk to her husband, who was in another vehicle.

Jennings is being investigated for vehicular assault and being involved in an injury hit-and-run crash, but her defense attorney Scott Johnson told the Herald his client wasn't driving the SUV. Prosecutors are reviewing the police reports.

Dilger didn't want to talk about what happened because she doesn't want to jeopardize the case, but she disputes Johnson's claims.

Johnson told the Herald on Thursday that he has witnesses who say the SUV, which belongs to Jennings' friend, wasn't moved after Jennings and a friend arrived at a gathering on South Quincy Place. The witnesses also say there's no way Jennings was driving, he said.

Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said full details of what happened will come out in court documents, but through the police investigation Jennings was identified as the driver of the SUV.

He said Dilger was standing sideways in the middle of the road talking to her husband, who was in a truck, and Dilger was hit on her left side. The SUV was coming toward her, traveling in the opposite direction from her husband's truck, and Jennings was supposed to be going to pick Dilger up, Lattin said.

"It's dark. It's raining. The headlights are on facing the suspect driver," Lattin said, adding that Jennings' vision may have been affected because she was looking right into the truck's headlights. "Nonetheless, she hit her friend and she fled the scene."

Dilger said she initially was taken to Kennewick General Hospital after the 1:30 a.m. accident, but was transferred to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland around 4 a.m. when it was discovered she her brain was bleeding and she had a skull fracture.

Dilger, who is an emergency room nurse at Kadlec, said she was put in critical care and monitored, but no surgery was needed for her head injury.

She said she has staples in her head and stitches. She said that she suffered injuries to the left front side of her head and face when her head hit the SUV.

Dilger said she has fractures to her lumbar spine and needs a total reconstruction of her left lower leg. She may be transferred to another hospital to see a specialist, but if that's not required, she likely will have surgery in the next 10 days and need a second one in about three months.

"I'm wheelchair-bound for some time," Dilger said, adding that she's estimating being out of work for about a year.

She's also expecting a long recovery, which includes physical therapy, and will need a special bed, bathroom and other modifications to get around her home.

* Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com