La Center woman accused in vehicle-dragging

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A La Center woman who allegedly shoved her sister from her car and then dragged her down the road after she became entangled in the seat belt, appeared Wednesday in Clark County Superior Court.

Clara F. Christensen, 55, appeared on suspicion of vehicular assault and second-degree domestic violence assault stemming from the Sept. 10 incident, which occurred in front of La Center High School.

The victim, Donna Rankins, 56, called 911 at about 11:25 p.m. to report that her sister possibly broke her nose and pushed her out of her vehicle. Clark County sheriff’s deputies located Rankins in the 700 block of East Fourth Street, where she was being treated by medical personnel, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Deputies said Rankins’ clothing on the left side of her body was torn, and a large section of her left thigh was scraped up and bloody. Her face was also bleeding, and she had a cut on her elbow, the affidavit states.

Rankins told deputies that Christensen was driving her to their mother’s house when they began to argue over whether Rankins was drunk. Christensen repeatedly elbowed and punched her in the face, she said, before stopping the vehicle and shoving her out, court records said.

She got entangled in the seat belt, however, and her sister sped off, dragging her along the road. She screamed at Christensen to stop, Rankins said, and she eventually did. She said Christensen asked her if she was OK, and once she got free from the seat belt, Christensen sped off, according to court documents.

Rankins was transported to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center for treatment. Doctors found that she suffered a fractured nose, the affidavit states.

Christensen was not immediately located.

During her hearing, Judge Robert Lewis set Christensen’s bail at $40,000. She will be arraigned Oct. 5.