A Vancouver police officer witnessed a high-speed crash at Northeast Andresen Road and Fourth Plain Boulevard early Tuesday morning.
The crash sent three people to the hospital, one with life-threatening injuries. The incident blocked the intersection and onramps to state Highway 500 for nearly six hours.
Just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, the police officer was stopped at a red light on Fourth Plain, according to Vancouver Police Traffic Sgt. Pat Johns. The officer saw a Chevrolet Malibu, which was turning left from Fourth Plain onto Andresen, collide with a 1997 Dodge Intrepid, which was headed in the opposite direction through the intersection. The Intrepid was traveling at a high rate of speed with its headlights off and had run a red light, Johns said.
Upon impact, the vehicles spun in several 360-degree turns. After the crash, the Intrepid caught on fire. The officer on scene used multiple fire extinguishers to put out the flames before fire personnel arrived, according to Vancouver police.
The two occupants of the Malibu, Levi Verstegen, 20, of Vancouver and Sierra Hornsby, 19, were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries and were treated and released, police said.
Police identified the driver of the Intrepid as Ashley Gumbel, 28. She was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. She was in critical condition Tuesday.
The intersection reopened at about 8 a.m.
Police are still investigating the crash. Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said Tuesday that investigators are waiting for toxicology reports and need to interview Gumbel.
Johns said it is rare for an officer to witness a crash.
“Personally, I’ve witnessed three in my 27-year career,” he said.