Woodland man dies in New Year's Eve crash

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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A Woodland man died and two other Clark County residents were hospitalized after a car crash late Tuesday, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office.

Christopher Beacock was driving a 2003 Ford Mustang when it went off the roadway and down a 60-foot embankment near the 800 block of Insel Road at about 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

Beacock, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene. Matthew Hance, 25, of Battle Ground, and 33-year-old Nicholas Ackerill of Ridgefield were both taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Their conditions were not immediately known.

All three had just left Beacock's home, less than a mile from the crash scene, authorities said. Witnesses reported that the car was traveling at high speeds and failed to make a corner when it went off the road, according to the sheriff's office. Hance, the owner of the car, was reportedly letting Beacock "test drive" it, according to the sheriff's office.

More than 50 firefighters from Cowlitz and Clark counties responded as rescuers had some difficulty reaching the vehicle. It is unknown whether alcohol was a factor in the crash, authorities said.