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Sept. 18, 2021

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Man sentenced in crash that hurt pedestrian

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver man who caused a crash that severely injured a pedestrian was given a six-month sentence Monday in Clark County Superior Court.

Chancellor Pruett, 20, pleaded guilty in July to vehicular assault by driving in a reckless manner in connection with the August 2014 crash near Columbia River High School.

Judge Gregory Gonzales sentenced Pruett to three months of work release — a program that allows inmates to work outside in the community and be confined when they’re not working — 60 days on a work crew and 400 hours of community service to be served through Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s driver safety program.

Pruett initially asked that he be able to serve half of his sentence through community service. He planned to present at high schools about the dangers of reckless driving.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Pruett was driving his 2006 Mazda Speed 6 west on Northwest 99th Street at about 6:20 p.m. Aug. 31, 2014, when he passed a vehicle using the right-turn only lane in the 900 block of the street. He then crossed back into the westbound lane and clipped an eastbound 1997 Silver BMW that was turning into a driveway.

The Mazda continued forward and drove onto the sidewalk, struck a brick retaining wall and slammed into then 17-year-old Chase Pickens, who had been walking west on 99th Street, the affidavit states. Pickens was a junior at Skyview High School at the time, according to Columbian archives.

Detectives calculated that Pruett’s vehicle was traveling between 64 mph and 88 mph at the time, court records show. The speed limit in that area is 35 mph, according to the prosecution.

Pickens suffered two broken legs, a severe head injury and other internal injuries, according to the affidavit.

On Monday, Pickens told the court that he was hospitalized for more than four months and that it was difficult for him to finish high school with his brain injury. Pickens, who walks with a limp, said he’s unsure if he will ever walk normally.

He told Gonzales that he remembers crying in the hospital wondering, “Why did this happen to me?”

In addition to his sentence, Pruett will serve 12 months of community custody and must pay restitution in an amount that will be determined at a later date. He was given credit for about a week in custody.