Crash into garage allegedly 2nd hit-and-run within minutes

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 29, 2011, 6:24 PM

 
photoThe De Luca home has been hit three times by out-of-control vehicles in the past year; the family says the long straight road attracts "drag racers" in the middle of the night.

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Just before a driver crashed his car into a house’s garage, injuring a 3-year-old inside, he had allegedly fled the scene of a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 205, sheriff’s deputies said Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies said a driver called 911 just before the Sunday night crash at 1915 N.E. 150th St. to report that he’d been sideswiped. That motorist followed the car — and was waiting when deputies arrived to investigate the car-into-house crash.

Three-year-old Joshua De Luca was playing inside the garage and was injured by flying debris and a freezer propelled by the impact of the crash, according to court documents. He was released from the hospital late Sunday.

Suspect Rajneel Singh, 26, of Vancouver was treated for minor injuries and arrested. Alleged to be intoxicated during both events, he made his first appearance Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and vehicular assault.

The alleged hit-and-run on I-205 was referred to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office for review of potential charges.

Judge John Wulle set bail at $75,000 for Singh and appointed attorney George Marlton to represent him. Arraignment was set for Thursday.

Deputies said Ronald Leighton followed Singh’s Scion hatchback after being sideswiped on the freeway. The Scion turned onto Northeast 20th Avenue and crashed into the side of a house’s garage at 7:45 p.m.

Acting on tips from several witnesses, deputies found Singh, who was injured, in the area. He transported to Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, where he was treated and released to the custody of the Clark County Jail.

Court records show that Singh has had two previous alleged DUIs in Multnomah County, Ore., according to KATU-TV. Singh was offered a court diversion program on the first case. A warrant alleging failure to appear in court was issued in the second case.

In the past two weeks, at least four alleged alcohol-related crashes in Clark County have resulted in either injury or death.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker.