Man whose passenger fell gets delay

Unemployed driver could not hire attorney, is assigned a defender

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter



A driver accused of abandoning a fatally injured passenger who fell from a moving convertible made a second appearance in Clark County Superior Court on Friday afternoon.

Russell H. Amon, 29, was supposed to be arraigned on vehicular homicide and felony hit and run stemming from the Aug. 20 incident. However, when Amon appeared before Judge Dan Stahnke without an attorney, the judge rescheduled arraignment for Tuesday morning.

During his first appearance on Aug. 23, Amon told the judge he intended to obtain his own attorney and did not need a court-appointed attorney.

On Friday, Amon said he was unable to secure an attorney. Amon drives a Mercedes convertible but lives in a mobile home park on Hayden Island and receives food stamps. He’s also been unemployed for the last nine months.

Stahnke appointed attorney Susan Stauffer to represent Amon, who remains in the Clark County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Washington State Patrol troopers allege Amon was driving a champagne-colored Mercedes when passenger Jose C. Gonzalez-Ramirez, 34, fell out of the car. The accident occurred at about 3 p.m. on state Highway 14 east of Washougal.

Last month, Deputy Prosecutor Mike Dodds said Gonzalez-Ramirez and a second passenger were standing up in the back of the top-down convertible, waving at cars. The defendant began passing cars, at which point Gonzalez-Ramirez fell out and hit his head.

Gonzalez-Ramirez died at the scene.

Dodds said witnesses saw Amon make a U-turn and circle back toward his passenger, then accelerate away toward Vancouver. Witnesses reported that the victim saw the defendant drive by and tried to wave to him, Dodds said.

Troopers said in earlier reports that alcohol was a factor.

Marissa Harshman:;;; 360-735-4546.

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