KINGMAN — A Kingman psychiatrist testified Tuesday that a Bullhead City man charged in a November hit-and-run crash is competent to stand trial.
Alton Richard Ervin, 74, is charged with failure to stop at a scene of an accident and three counts of aggravated assault. He is being held in custody on a $250,000 bond.
Ervin’s defense attorney, Anthony Mullan, called Dr. Laurence Schiff, of Kingman, to the stand on his evaluation that Ervin suffered mild to moderate dementia but that he was competent to stand trial.
Schiff said he met with Ervin in February and March and, at that time, the defendant was doing much better than when he was incarcerated at the jail in November. Schiff said the jail staff initially told him that Ervin was in a “real bad” state.
But Schiff stuck to his evaluation, testifying that Ervin knew what the charges were, knew the court proceedings and that they had a competent conversation.
Mullan tried to poke holes in Schiff’s determination by arguing that Ervin had mispronounced the judge’s name and that he didn’t know the judge’s role in court. He also argued that Ervin’s dementia likely had deteriorated in the three months since Schiff spoke to him.
When asked by Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe Jr., Schiff admitted that if the judge found that Ervin was not competent to stand trial then the defendant probably was not restorable.
Dr. Mark Harvancik, who interviewed the defendant before Schiff, determined that Ervin was not competent to stand trial.
Sipe postponed the remainder of the mental health evidentiary hearing to June 25. Mohave County Jail Capt. Don Bischoff is expected to testify at that hearing.
Ervin allegedly was involved in a traffic crash around 8 p.m. Nov. 12, near the intersection of Central Avenue and Highway 95 in Bullhead City. Two occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash tried to stop Ervin, who allegedly drove away in a white van from the scene.
The van sped away and struck a woman from the other vehicle, dragging her hundreds of feet, before heading west on Central Avenue, Bullhead City police reported. Police cordoned off the area and searched the neighborhoods looking for the van.
Based on tips on social media, Ervin was arrested several hours later at a Jose Avenue home. The woman was flown to a Las Vegas hospital with serious injuries.