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News / Clark County News

Law enforcement respond to two mental health crises in Vancouver

By Jerzy Shedlock, Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published: March 18, 2021, 12:15pm

Vancouver police officers and other law enforcement agencies responded to two calls involving people in mental health crises Wednesday.

Officers were dispatched at 10:17 a.m. to assist Washington State Patrol with an uncooperative man on the Interstate 5 Bridge.

He began running across the lanes of both northbound and southbound traffic, making his way to the railroad tracks under the bridge near the freeway’s interchange with state Highway 14, Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said in an email.

The man hid under a stationary train, Kapp said.

“When officers tried to contact him, he began running down an embankment onto (Highway 14) where there was heavy traffic,” Kapp said.

The suspect was showing signs of experiencing a severe mental health crisis, and when officers got close to him, he tried to use a small metal pipe and pretend it was a gun, according to the police department.

He ran toward oncoming westbound traffic, where he was apprehended. He was taken to the hospital for an evaluation, Kapp said.

Then, shortly before 1 p.m., Vancouver police officers responded to a traffic crash at 16200 N.W. Lower River Road. There is a locked gate at the address, police said.

A 911 caller reported witnessing a vehicle drive through the gate, hit a concrete barrier and flip upside down into an embankment. A man exited the vehicle and ran away, Kapp said.

Officers searched on foot through pathways between wooded areas. Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded to assist in covering more ground due to the large amount of wetlands.

The suspect’s mother was contacted. She reported her son was off his medication and suffering from a mental health crisis. She said he had called and admitted to flipping the vehicle and being in a “wooded area near Vancouver Lake,” Kapp said.

Law enforcement with Vancouver police, the sheriff’s office, Washington State Patrol, and Ridgefield Police Department, along with firefighters and state Department of Fish and Game employees, located the man using a boat. He was taken to a nearby ambulance and then driven to the hospital for a mental health evaluation and treatment of injuries related to the crash, according to the police department.

Columbian Breaking News Reporter