There was insufficient evidence to prove to a jury beyond a doubt that the driver knew she'd struck a human being, a requirement for a conviction under state law, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said.
The driver, 49, of Everett, left the scene. She met with detectives nine days later. She'd maintained that she thought she'd hit a dog.
Broyles' dog, Charlie, was struck and died from injuries suffered in the collision.
Broyles' parents traveled to Everett last week to meet with prosecutors.
A forensic analysis of the damage to the vehicle showed Broyles was lying in the road when he was hit, Darrow said. Broyles was heavily intoxicated at the time. It was dark outside.
The driver has no serious criminal history. It's still not clear if Broyles had tripped or had fallen, or why he was in the road, Darrow said.
"I don't think we'll ever know precisely how that occurred," he said.
Broyles struggled in life, but he always was loved, said his mother, Patti Libby. His family still mourns the loss.
Broyles was a free spirit, Libby said. He loved the outdoors, and he loved Index.
He was the goofy, silly one at family reunions. He drank, but even then, he was soft-hearted, she said.
"He had parents, and he was a good person, and he had a 22-year-old son," she said. "He had siblings, and he did good in the community."
Broyles loved his dog, who was like his shadow, she said. For awhile, he was married to a woman who worked at the Reptile Zoo in Monroe.
"He built aquariums and cages for the critters, and they took sick ones home and nursed them, and he was quite the animal lover – lots of them," she said.
Broyles grew up in the Spokane area, one of five children in the family. He ran track in high school and community college.
He lived with his girlfriend, Marsha Motsenbocker, in a motor home, just up the road from where he died. He was walking home from the Index Arts Festival the night of his death.
He loved his girlfriend. He loved the Skykomish River. His memorial was held on its banks.
A second family memorial was held on the Pend Oreille River, near the family's vacation home where Broyles spent many a weekend and summer. An 18-foot maple tree was planted at the property in his memory last fall. An old pair of his shoes sits underneath, alongside a granite plaque.
Broyles was a talented carpenter, his mother said. He worked for a time installing windows with his brother. He worked at a custom cabinetry shop. He worked in manufacturing.
"He was always doing somebody's porch or roof, to help people, to make a few dollars," Libby said. "He was just a kind person. He didn't deserve to die like that."
Sometime before Broyles died, his friend and local artist, Dean Shepard, made an oil painting of him and Charlie. After the death, Shepard gave the painting to Broyles' girlfriend. She shared copies with the family.
"That's the picture we used in his memorial service and that we all have on our desks," Libby said.
Broyles also is survived by his son, Joby Broyles.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
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