Passenger killed, driver arrested after Battle Ground crash

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

Updated: April 25, 2012, 8:48 PM

 

An Oregon resident was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide early Wednesday after the car he was driving hit a tree near Battle Ground and his passenger died.

Firefighters with Clark County Fire District 3 and Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the crash around 11:20 p.m. Tuesday at the 20700 block of Northeast Risto Road. They found a 1997 Ford Crown Victoria had hit a tree on the south side of the road.

The driver of the car, Sarengaw Ham, 28, was sent to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, sheriff’s Sgt. Alex Schoening said in a release. A passenger in the car was pronounced dead at the scene.

The passenger did not have any identification on him, and has not been identified yet, said Sgt. Fred Neiman, spokesman for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash happened on a straight stretch of road, where the speed limit is 50 mph. The sheriff’s office said the car was traveling east when it went off the road, down an embankment and hit a tree.

Investigators found evidence on the scene and at the hospital that indicate alcohol was a factor in the crash, Schoening said.

Ham was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide after being treated and released from the hospital. He also had an outstanding warrant for driving while suspended, the sheriff’s office said. He was booked into the Clark County Jail.

The sheriff’s Traffic Homicide Unit is investigating the crash.

It was the second fatal crash in Clark County on Tuesday. Paul Austin, 45, of Vancouver died when his motorcycle hit a minivan around 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Northeast 63rd Street and 58th Avenue.