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News / Clark County News

Vancouver woman accused in fatal I-5 pedestrian hit-and-run

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Local News Editor
Published: February 5, 2021, 1:29pm

A Vancouver woman accused in a Jan. 31 fatal hit-and-run of a pedestrian on Interstate 5 told investigators that her passenger had jumped head first from the moving vehicle during an altercation and died.

That passenger, identified as 33-year-old Kendra M. Fain, of Sutherlin, Ore., suffered “an obvious traumatic head injury” and was found dead by authorities at the scene, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

An autopsy of Fain concluded that she was not standing upright or in the roadway when she was struck. Her injuries were consistent with exiting a moving vehicle and her upper body being run over, the affidavit states.

The driver, Lacee Clara Lee Cabrera, 30, of Vancouver, appeared Friday morning via Zoom in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of hit-and-run resulting in death, as well as a fugitive from justice warrant out of Oregon.

During the hearing, the prosecution said that Cabrera has no known criminal history; however, she is wanted in Multnomah County for a probation violation, her local court-appointed attorney said.

Cabrera attempted to explain that she has been in contact with her probation officer and attorney in Oregon, before Judge Daniel Stahnke cut her off so she could meet with her local attorney. Cabrera subsequently waived her right to contest extradition to Oregon.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff McCarty asked that Cabrera’s bail in the hit-and-run case be set at $75,000, citing the nature of the allegation. The Oregon warrant, which will track with her local case, additionally requested she be held on $125,000 bail.

Stahnke granted the bail requests. Cabrera is due back in Clark County court Feb. 12 for arraignment.

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Hit-and-run investigation

At about 9:50 a.m. Jan. 31, Washington State Patrol dispatch received a report of a person lying face-down on the right shoulder of Interstate 5 at Milepost 18 near La Center. Upon arrival, first responders found Fain dead, according to the affidavit.

Fain had no socks or shoes on, investigators said, noting that her feet were not dirty, and no socks or shoes were located at the scene. There was also no evidence that would typically be found in an auto versus pedestrian crash, such as broken vehicle parts or tire skid marks, the affidavit says.

Investigators reviewed footage from a Washington Department of Transportation camera about a half-mile from the scene, which captured vehicles traveling south on I-5 around that time, but Fain was just outside the camera’s view. Investigators tracked a white Toyota 4Runner that had passed through the area using additional camera footage, court records state.

Fain’s mother, Letha Bay, told investigators her daughter had been in the Vancouver area with a woman named Lacee, who was later identified as Cabrera. Bay said Cabrera had called her and said Fain went for a run around 7 a.m. Jan. 31 and hadn’t been seen since, according to the affidavit.

Bay later received a call from an employee at a Shell gas station who said they found Fain’s cellphone and were holding it. A detective responded to retrieve the phone and found photos on it of a Toyota 4Runner that Cabrera had sent Fain; it appeared to be the same one seen in WSDOT camera footage, court records say.

On Thursday, investigators went to Cabrera’s boyfriend’s apartment in Vancouver, where they found a parked Toyota 4Runner registered to the boyfriend. He told investigators Cabrera had told him that Fain jumped from the moving vehicle and was dead, the affidavit states.

The Toyota was seized as evidence.

Authorities subsequently arrested Cabrera at the apartment. She allegedly admitted to driving the Toyota at the time of the incident. She said she and Fain got into an argument that turned physical. Fain opened her passenger’s side door and jumped out head first, Cabrera said, while the Toyota was traveling 65 mph, according to the affidavit.

Cabrera said she kept driving afterward and started to slow down until she saw another vehicle in her rearview mirror pull onto the shoulder near Fain’s body, court records say.

“Cabrera made no attempt to report the incident to law enforcement or stop to render aid to Fain” the affidavit reads.