Highway 500 hit-and-run suspect appears in court

Rear-end crash injures motorcyclist

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A Battle Ground man who allegedly struck a motorcyclist from behind, throwing him from his bike, and then fled on state Highway 500 made a first appearance Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court.

Trevon X. Christensen, 23, appeared on suspicion of hit-and-run resulting in injury and second-degree driving with a revoked license stemming from the July 30 crash.

The victim, Daniel Rowe, was riding his motorcycle westbound in the left lane of Highway 500, east of Andresen Road, at about 9:30 p.m. when a black car in the right lane swerved toward him. Rowe swerved to avoid being struck, he said, and then sped up to about 65 mph to get way from the car, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

A short distance later, Rowe said, he saw headlights approaching at high speed, and he was struck from behind. The impact threw him from his bike, and he landed on the hood of the car before falling to the ground. He came to rest in the left lane, and his motorcycle landed in the brush on the right shoulder, the affidavit states.

The car that struck him didn’t stop.

Rowe suffered five fractured ribs and a fractured shoulder blade, court records said.

Investigators determined that debris left by the car at the scene matched a 2003 to 2007 Mitsubishi Galant. And the following day, a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant was found abandoned in the 7300 block of Northeast 43rd Way in Vancouver. The car had fresh damage and was subsequently impounded, according to the court document.

The owner of the car, identified as Christensen, reportedly called the tow company about his vehicle.

An anonymous caller also contacted Washington State Patrol and said an acquaintance had told them he was in a collision with a motorcycle. Investigators later determined the acquaintance was Christensen, the affidavit states, and seized his car.

On Thursday, a friend of Christensen’s called WSP and said he was the driver involved in the crash. However, investigators said Christensen could be heard in the background of the phone call instructing his friend on what to say, court records state.

Investigators later contacted Christensen at an appointment with the Department of Corrections, and he confessed to being the driver. He said he didn’t stop because he thought he had just “bumped” the motorcycle, according to the affidavit.

On Tuesday, Judge Daniel Stahnke set Christensen’s bail at $75,000.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 18.