Vancouver man arrested following pursuit, five-car crash

Alcohol, driving too fast believed to be factors, police say

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



A Vancouver man was arrested after a high-speed chase with police that ended in a five-car crash Sunday night.

A trooper was pursuing a 2008 Honda Ridgeline pickup driven by Zackery Angel Flores, 18, north on Interstate 5 about 8 p.m., according to a bulletin released by the Washington State Patrol.

Flores was driving at speeds up to 98 mph, Trooper Will Finn said.

He took the Northeast 99th Street exit and failed to negotiate a right turn, the bulletin said. Flores first crashed into a 1999 Honda Prelude driven by Citlally Venegas, 25, of Tillamook, Ore., and then those two cars crashed into a 2011 Subaru Forester driven by Michael Solheim, 52, of Hillsboro, Ore., according to the bulletin. Police say that Flores continued driving and struck a 2012 Subaru Forester driven by Warren Shaw, 59, of Vancouver and then continued driving again and struck a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant head-on. Roger Stryffeler, 54, of Vancouver was driving the Galant.

Four people, including Flores, were injured and transported to area hospitals.

Flores and Martin Vargaslopez, 16, of Vancouver, a passenger in Flores’ vehicle, were taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Venegas was taken to the same hospital. All three were discharged Monday.

Stryffeler was taken to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

Solheim and Shaw were uninjured.

Flores was arrested on suspicion of felony-level eluding police, vehicular assault, felony-level hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

Washington State Patrol lists the causes of the crash as driving too fast for the conditions and driving under the influence of intoxicants, though they did not say whether Flores was being charged with either crime.

Zackery Flores appeared Monday in Clark County Superior Court and was held on $50,000 bail. He will be arraigned on May 10. Attorney Jeff Staples was appointed to represent him.

Flores has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2009 when he was 14; charges include second-degree criminal trespass, making a false statement to a public servant, third-degree malicious mischief, unlawful drug paraphernalia use, harassment and taking a vehicle without permission.

On May 17, 2011, Flores was involved in an altercation that started when his friend was fighting another man in the 3700 block of East 18th Street in central Vancouver. Flores produced a handgun to protect his friend, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu, and fired numerous rounds in the direction of the man, Erick Butler, who had taken cover behind a vehicle.

Butler wasn’t injured, but a bystander was struck by an errant round. The bullet grazed his arm; he wasn’t seriously injured, Vu said.

Initially charged with second-degree attempted murder, Flores was convicted of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon enhancement. He was sentenced to 18 months, with 173 days’ credit for time served.

“This is just a life-learning experience for me,” Flores said at that sentencing.

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