Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Jan. 31, 2023

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La Center man accused of driving drunk in Highway 503 crash that killed 1, hurt 3

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A La Center man who is accused of driving drunk and causing a head-on collision on state Highway 503 that killed a 16-year-old girl appeared in court Tuesday.

David R. Zarb, 46, faces one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault in the Monday afternoon crash near Fargher Lake.

Sixteen-year-old Ivy A. Hunt, of Napavine, a passenger in the other vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other occupants Harumi R. Yato and Emi L. Yato, both 15, of Yacolt, were critically injured and taken to a hospital, and Danlette Yato, 66, of Yacolt, was also transported.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Gregory Gonzales set Zarb’s bail at $500,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 25.

Washington State Patrol troopers say Zarb drove his northbound Ford F-150 pickup across the center line of the highway and struck a southbound Mazda 3 at Gabriel Road. The crash occurred around 1:30 p.m.

Zarb allegedly admitted to first responders on scene that he had three drinks and then met up with a friend in Battle Ground and consumed two more drinks. An open container was also found in his pickup, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

When firefighters asked him what time it was, Zarb reportedly thought it was 6 or 7 p.m., the affidavit states.

“While AMR units were assisting him, he was clearly being sarcastic and uncooperative when asking for his name. I could even hear Zarb laughing while in the back of the ambulance,” a trooper wrote in the affidavit.

Troopers said they could smell the odor of alcohol coming from Zarb, as well as his pickup, and his eyes were bloodshot and watery, court records state.

Investigators applied for a search warrant to obtain a sample of his blood for toxicology testing, according to the affidavit.