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Dec. 2, 2022

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Vancouver man, 61, faces vehicular homicide charge

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter

A Vancouver man who allegedly struck and killed an elderly man crossing a Washougal road in September appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court to face an allegation of vehicular homicide.

Deputy Prosecutor Katie Sinclair said Michael Evan Ross-Morales, 61, has more than 100 prior warrants and noted a lengthy rap sheet before asking the court to impose $300,000 bail. Judge Bernard Veljacic set Ross-Morales’ bail at $75,000.

Court documents show Ross-Morales was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run involving injuries, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide and two counts related to driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was booked Thursday into the Clark County Jail, according to the roster.

The victim, identified as 65-year-old Michael Simmelink, died from his injuries a week after the crash.

Ross-Morales had borrowed a red Hyundai Accent belonging to his roommate, Dean Miesbauer, on the afternoon of Sept. 30 to deliver “civil papers” to a Camas residence. When he left, he was the only person in the vehicle, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Later that day, around 8:20 p.m., Washougal police were dispatched to a car crash involving a pedestrian near the corner of Washougal River Road and E Street. Witnesses said a vehicle was speeding southbound on Washougal River Road toward the intersection of E Street. Simmelink, with the use of a walker, was crossing the street from east to west, not in a crosswalk but close to the entrance of a gas station. Surveillance video from the gas station also captured the speeding vehicle, the affidavit says.

“The vehicle struck the pedestrian, throwing him violently into the air and landing him in the parking lot of the gas station several feet away from the impact location,” the affidavit says.

The vehicle’s brake lights briefly illuminated, investigators say, but the driver did not stop to help Simmelink or call 911.

Simmelink was left gravely injured and unconscious. He was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver for treatment but succumbed to his injuries Oct. 7. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the man’s death an accident and said he died of multiple blunt force injuries, according to the affidavit.

After the crash, Miesbauer and another man picked up Ross-Morales on Crowd Road in Camas. Miesbauer had called police about 10:30 p.m. and said his Hyundai had been stolen while Ross-Morales was using it. Ross-Morales said a friend was driving the car, and they were serving legal documents in Camas when a “young kid got in the car and drove off,” the affidavit says.

The missing Hyundai was located Oct. 1 on Southeast Strong Avenue, near Crowd Road in Camas. The vehicle had damage to the windshield and bumper. DNA belonging to Simmelink was taken from the windshield. Additional DNA evidence taken from the vehicle’s gear shift came back as a match to Ross-Morales, according to the affidavit.

Columbian Breaking News Reporter