Ridgefield man pleads guilty in fatal crash

He crashed into telephone pole; two passengers died

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A Ridgefield man pleaded guilty Thursday to recklessly causing the deaths of two people in a single-vehicle crash Nov. 17 near downtown Vancouver.

Ian J. Cole, 21, also admitted to leaving the scene of the crash.

In an agreement with prosecutors, he entered a guilty plea in Clark County Superior Court to two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of vehicular assault and one count of hit-and-run death.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu and Cole’s attorney, Sean Downs, agreed to jointly recommend a sentence of more than eight years in prison. However, the sentence is ultimately up to Judge Suzan Clark, who is scheduled to sentence him Tuesday.

Cole was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he got behind the wheel of his 2003 Ford Mustang and took three passengers on a ride around 8:43 p.m. Nov. 17.

He was driving recklessly, speeding and passing vehicles when he lost control of his car and shearedoff a telephone pole in the 100 block of Southeast Columbia Way, said Deputy Prosecutor Randy St. Clair. Cole then left the scene of the crash on foot.

Witnesses said just before the crash, Cole’s vehicle had been doing high-speed 360-degree turns (doughnuts) near the intersection of Columbia Way and Columbia Shores, according to court documents.

Jesse E. Orellano-Leister, 20, of Vancouver, died at the scene of the crash. A second passenger, Benjamin Folk, 25, of Vancouver, died in the hospital the next day from his injuries. Maxwell Borders, 19, address not known, was injured and treated and released from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Cole told Vancouver police that when he saw Folk unresponsive in his vehicle, “‘I ran; I freaked,'” according to court documents.

He said he was feeling “buzzed” from marijuana and alcohol at the time of the collision, the documents state.

Cole has been in the Clark County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail since his arrest Nov. 17.