Vancouver man convicted of another road rage on same day

Incident in Oregon about an hour before assault in Vancouver

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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Already convicted of firing a round at a driver in apparent road rage in 2007, a Vancouver man has been convicted in Oregon of a separate road rage incident that occurred on the same day.

Following a four-day trial, a Washington County Circuit Court judge on Friday found Christopher P. Partridge, 29, guilty of unlawful use of a weapon.

Partridge’s sentencing in Oregon had been set for Wednesday. But it was postponed indefinitely because the judge fell ill.

Partridge faces up to three months in jail on the newest case, which is likely to be served at the same time as his 11-year prison sentence imposed in Clark County, said his court-appointed defense attorney, Todd Huegli.

Partridge was sentenced in 2008 for first-degree assault in that case.

On Sept. 18, 2007, Partridge was driving home from work through Hillsboro, Ore., when he began chasing a teenage couple who were driving on Oregon Highway 26 between 6:45 and 7:10 p.m. He had been upset at the driver for tailgating him.

The teenagers got off the highway in an attempt to get away, but Partridge followed, Hillsboro police reported after the incident.

Partridge allegedly pulled up next to them at a stoplight at the intersection of Northwest Evergreen Parkway and Cornelius Pass Road and showed a gun. The teens ducked down and drove off when the light turned green, police said. Partridge gave up following them.

Huegli said he presented an insanity defense because of his client’s post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in the Iraq War. Partridge was a mechanic who drove bridge trucks in convoys.

“The PTSD combined with military training conditioned him to respond to the situation” the way he did, Huegli said Wednesday. “I’ve seen studies that road rage is rampant among drivers coming back from Iraq.”

Huegli said that while Judge Suzanne Upton acknowledged Partridge’s PTSD, she did not believe it met the legal burden of insanity.

The defendant’s PTSD also played a significant role in his Clark County trial.

Testimony in that trial indicated that after driving into Vancouver, Partridge became enraged when a woman unintentionally cut him off as she was trying to exit state Highway 500 onto the Thurston Way off-ramp at about 8 p.m. He pulled into the lane next to the driver, grabbed a handgun and fired one shot.

The bullet penetrated the car’s door. The mother and her daughter were not injured.

The incident occurred about an hour after the Hillsboro event.

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