Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Sept. 23, 2020

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Teen faces adult court in fatal hit-run

Oregon incident left one dead, 3 seriously injured


LONGVIEW — The teenager accused of driving through a crowd and killing a Rainier, Ore., man and seriously injuring three others early Saturday morning may be tried in adult court.

Clatsop County District Attorney Ron Brown this week filed to move Kyle Snook’s case from juvenile court to adult court. A judge will consider the motion after a psychological evaluation is completed.

Snook, 17, of Toledo faces charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, vehicular assault, driving while under the influence and reckless driving, according to court documents.

Brown told The Daily News that Snook is about three months away from turning 18. Also, the charges are serious enough to warrant consideration in adult court, he said.

A probable cause statement obtained by TDN Thursday provides more details about the incident, which took place around 4 a.m. Saturday at the Hunt Creek Rock Pit near Highway 30 and Nicolai Mountain. However, the investigation continues, and detectives are still interviewing people involved in the gathering to get the “big-picture stuff,” Brown said.

He said it also will take some time to evaluate evidence from Snook’s vehicle.

According to the probable cause statement, Snook was part of a group of people camping at the rock pit. Other campers reported that he was drinking rum and smoking “dabbs” of marijuana throughout the night.

Around 4 a.m. Snook got into an argument with Gage Wilson, another camper, and was told to leave the camp area by Wilson’s friends.

At least two witnesses told police that Snook got into his car and drove through the group of people standing near it several times, according to the statement.

“Where Kyle’s vehicle was parked there were no other vehicles or people behind his car, but there was a group of people standing in front and along the sides of his vehicle. … witnesses told me they saw Kyle drive forward into the crowd striking Tyson Ellis and Alex Jacks,” the statement says.

Ellis, 19, went under the car and was run over. Jacks, 23, was thrown over the hood of the car, and he hit his head on the windshield, according to the statement. Both were taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. A hospital spokesperson said Ellis and Jacks have been discharged.

Snook proceeded to circle the rock quarry and drove back into the crowd, according to the statement. He hit Robert Betschart and Damon Hackenberg.

Betschart, 23, of Rainier was taken by Life Flight to OHSU, where he died due to his injuries. Hackenberg, 23, was bruised and scratched.

Snook circled the rock quarry again and, while near the north end, hit two other people. One of them, Kaylee Nordstrom, 22, was taken to OHSU for serious injuries, while the other was bruised and scratched. A condition for Nordstrom was unavailable Thursday.