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June 20, 2021

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Vancouver man faces charges in fatal crash

Two died in July 2019 collision between motorcycles, SUV

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver man who was injured in a double-fatal crash involving two motorcycles and an SUV in July 2019 is now accused of vehicular homicide.

Christian Isaiah Poole, 25, appeared via video Thursday in Clark County Superior Court on two counts of vehicular homicide-driving under the influence and two counts of vehicular homicide-operating a vehicle in a reckless manner. He entered not-guilty pleas to the charges.

Court records say Poole and Matthew L. Stevens, who was killed in the crash, had been drinking and speeding up and down Northeast 18th Street on their motorcycles on the night of July 26, 2019.

The motorcycles were traveling west on 18th Street around 11:45 p.m. when they struck a 2005 BMW X5 SUV, which had turned left onto 18th Street from southbound Northeast 187th Avenue, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Both Stevens, 23, of Vancouver and the driver of the SUV, identified as Renee L. Unell, 50, of Camas, were killed.

On Thursday, the prosecution asked that Poole’s bail be set at $100,000, despite his lack of criminal history.

Defense attorney Angus Lee, who’s representing Poole, called the prosecution’s bail request “simply outrageous.”

Lee argued that his client has been out of custody for 15 months and has been in no legal trouble during that time. He further argued that police reports make it clear Poole did not cause the crash; the SUV pulled out in front of the motorcyclists, he said.

Judge Jennifer Snider granted Poole supervised release.

Accused of racing

According to the affidavit, witnesses told police on scene that the motorcycles had been racing on 18th Street.

Poole estimated his speed to be 60 mph in the 40 mph zone. He told police Stevens was driving “a lot faster” than he was but denied that they were racing, court records say.

An officer who spoke with Poole said they could smell alcohol on his breath and noted his eyes were bloodshot and watery. Poole allegedly admitted to drinking beer with Stevens at a friend’s house earlier in the day, court documents state.

A preliminary breath test found he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.086 about 45 minutes after the crash, the affidavit says. In Washington, a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 is considered evidence of drunken driving.

Poole was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash. A search warrant was requested to draw his blood for testing. The results reportedly showed Poole’s blood contained 0.052 grams of alcohol per 100 mL, according to court records.