Woman killed in 4-vehicle crash on SR 500 in east Orchards

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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Police suspect an impaired driver may have caused a four-vehicle crash that killed a Vancouver woman Tuesday morning east of Orchards.

The crash blocked both lanes on state Highway 500 for several hours.

Washington State Patrol troopers were called to the crash on state Highway 500 near Northeast 182nd Avenue just before 9:30 a.m. and arrived to find four vehicles involved.

According to the State Patrol, Pamela S. Alexander, 53, of Camas was heading west on Highway 500 around Milepost 9, about a mile east of the Vancouver city limits.

Alexander’s SUV went over the center line, the State Patrol said, and hit the rear of an eastbound pickup driven by Maria D. Zepedachaparro, 38, of Vancouver.

Alexander’s SUV then slammed head-on into another eastbound vehicle, an SUV driven by Jonna D. Porteous, 68, of Vancouver.

The crash sent Zepedachaparro’s pickup over the center line, where it struck the fourth vehicle, a sedan driven by Eric M. Mazemke, 44, of Washougal, who was heading west.

Porteous died after being taken to a hospital. Alexander and Mazemke were taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for their injuries. Both had been treated and released Tuesday afternoon, according to the hospital. Zepedachaparro was hurt but not hospitalized.

The crash totaled all four vehicles, according to the State Patrol.

The agency said the crash was still under investigation Tuesday afternoon, but Trooper Will Finn said it appeared to investigators that the causing driver may have been under the influence or drugs. The State Patrol said later that it was still unknown whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Both lanes of traffic were blocked until about noon, when the Washington State Department of Transportation reported that traffic was getting through the area on an alternating basis.