A Vancouver driver who struck and killed a pedestrian on Interstate 5 late Wednesday night was also behind the wheel in a crash in 2014 that killed a pedestrian.
Marion Thomas, 49, was driving a 2014 Jeep Wrangler north on I-5 at about 11:30 p.m. when he struck a man who was jogging in the right lane of the highway, according to the Washington State Patrol.
When troopers arrived on scene, just south of Mill Plain Boulevard, they found a dead man in the roadway and Thomas outside of his vehicle, Trooper Will Finn said.
“The driver originally told us that he wasn’t driving,” Finn said. But Thomas later admitted that he had been the one behind the wheel, Finn said.
“He said he was in shock, that he was upset and nervous. … He said he could not believe this was happening again,” Finn said.
In June 2014, Thomas was driving a 2007 Ford Mustang coupe on Northeast Highway 99 in Hazel Dell when he struck a pedestrian who was trying to cross six lanes of the road south of 78th Street, according to The Columbian archives. An ambulance took the pedestrian, 45-year-old James Grubbs, to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, but he died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
In the 2014 incident, Thomas stayed on scene and cooperated with investigators, who determined Thomas was not impaired or distracted. No criminal charges were filed in that case.
“I feel for this guy,” Finn said. “It’s terrible to be put in this situation.”
Following Wednesday’s crash, troopers performed a field sobriety test and a drug recognition evaluation, both of which showed Thomas was not impaired, Finn said. Thomas then volunteered a blood sample, which is being evaluated by the state crime lab.
Finn said that Thomas was not cited or arrested, but that the crash remains under investigation.
The pedestrian’s identity is not being released pending next-of-kin notification by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office. Finn said that troopers are looking into why the pedestrian was on the freeway.