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News / Clark County News

Woman gets nearly 5 years for assaulting deputy with her car

By Jack Heffernan, Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published: April 17, 2019, 8:04pm

A woman was sentenced Wednesday to nearly five years in prison for striking a Clark County sheriff’s deputy with a car and then fleeing at high speeds.

Maryelena Clark, 27, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to second-degree assault and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. Judge Suzan Clark followed the sentence jointly recommended by the defense and prosecutor’s office.

Early on Feb. 25, Deputy Dylan Harris spotted a dark green, older Ford Taurus parked on the shoulder of the road near the intersection of Northeast 75th Street and Northeast 104th Avenue. Two women were standing outside and appeared to be loading objects into the car with the passenger’s door and trunk open, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Harris, suspicious they might have been loading stolen property or attempting to steal the car, pulled over and parked next to them. After he exited the patrol car, the women hurried into the Taurus, according to the affidavit. The passenger, Angelia M. Mason, yelled “Go, go, go!” The car rapidly accelerated, turned toward Harris and drove over his left foot despite his attempt to jump out of the way, the affidavit said.

As the car continued, Harris opened the passenger’s door and attempted to pull Mason out of the car. Mason pushed his hand away as they drove off, and Harris’ hand was struck by the door frame, the affidavit said. The deputy said he lost his wristwatch during the incident.

Harris then pursued the car, which reached speeds of nearly 100 mph and ran a red light. The chase was discontinued on Interstate 205 near the Glenn Jackson Bridge when Harris’ patrol car became disabled, the affidavit said. He was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Following media reports of the incident, an anonymous tipster emailed the sheriff’s office. The email stated that Mason and Clark were likely responsible; the tipster said they heard about it from Mason’s brother, who was in the backseat of the Taurus at the time, the affidavit said.

Harris identified Mason after looking at a photo montage. Another deputy, while interviewing Mason’s brother near a residence just north of Vancouver, spotted the Taurus and several license plates in the backseat, one of which matched the license plate seen by Harris on the suspect vehicle, the affidavit said.

Mason and Clark were arrested shortly after. Clark admitted to driving the Taurus and trying to get away. Mason said she didn’t know who the driver was or the man approaching them, and said she fell asleep during the chase, according to the affidavit.

Mason, who was suspected of third-degree assault, was exonerated after prosecutors said further investigation was necessary, according to court documents.

“There are certainly questions as to whether my client intentionally swerved toward the deputy,” Philip Michael Ard, Clark’s defense attorney, said during Wednesday’s hearing. “However, the reality is that there is substantial risk to taking something like that to trial.”

Harris did not speak at the hearing. Clark said the incident “was not the best decision I made in my life.”

“I plan on, you know, just doing right by this,” Clark said.

She added that she was scared and didn’t know Harris was a deputy.

“There was a lot going on,” Clark said. “I watch TV. I know the cops have shot people for less.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter