A judge has dismissed Monticello Hotel owner Phil Lovingfoss’ hit-and-run charge stemming from an alleged drunk driving incident in March.
“The judge looked at the police reports and all the witness statements and decided there wasn’t enough to go forward,” Longview city prosecutor Steve Shuman said Tuesday.
In court filings, the victim of the accident said Lovingfoss, 50, rear-ended her in front of the Monticello and did not exchange information as required by law.
“ ‘I can buy you a better car. Come inside the hotel and we can talk about the car,’ “ Lovingfoss reportedly told the driver before heading inside the hotel and subsequently getting arrested, according to the victim’s statement.
“I had to pay for all the damages ... using my own car insurance company,” she wrote.
But Lovingfoss’ attorneys filed a “Knapstead motion to dismiss,” citing a lack of evidence for the city to win in a jury trial.
“The defense submits that the facts contained within the officer’s reports fail to prove the elements (of the alleged offense) and would render the prosecution unlawful,” wrote Lovingfoss’ attorney Nathan Webb.
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Cowlitz County District Court Judge Ron Marshall agreed on Aug. 26 and tossed the charge.
Lovingfoss still faces a driving under the influence charge over the March 30 incident. His DUI trial is set for Nov. 5 and 6 at 9 a.m., though it has been pushed back several times.
March’s arrest was the second time in fewer than three years that Lovingfoss was arrested on a DUI allegation. He was cited in June 2013 just as filming began for Gordon Ramsay’s “Hotel Hell” TV show featuring the historic hotel.
That case was settled by a Nov. 13, 2013, “stipulated agreement,” under which Lovingfoss agreed to pay $534 in fines, undergo an alcohol dependency evaluation and take 16 hours of DUI education.
The June 2013 DUI charge was amended to first-degree negligent driving conviction on condition that he avoid further offenses during the next two years.
Lovingfoss also has a pending felony charge over reportedly intimidating a judge in July. A trial for that is tentatively set for Oct. 19.
The hotel magnate had made threats over wanting to “smack down” Cowlitz County District Court Judge Edward Putka, according to police reports.