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April 11, 2021

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Lawyer: Fears about Camas man’s driving ‘absurd’

Camas man accused in November crash that resulted in death

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

The attorney for a Camas man says prosecutors’ concerns about his client’s driving are “absurd” and described the November fatal crash he caused as an “isolated” and “tragic” incident.

Defense attorney Steve Thayer told the court Wednesday that his client, Ethan Zacary Province, was not driving while impaired. Instead, Thayer said, Province lost control of the SUV because the “road was wet, and he apparently was going a little too fast.”

Province, 31, appeared Wednesday via Zoom in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault. The allegations stem from a Nov. 5 head-on collision in Camas, in which a woman was killed and Province and two others were injured.

At the hearing, the prosecution sought to take away Province’s driving privileges if he’s released. Deputy Prosecutor Julie Carmena said the prosecution has “grave concerns,” although the defendant has no criminal record. Province was speeding at the time of the crash, she said, and had depressed the accelerator multiple times.

Judge John Fairgrieve said driving is a “critical ability.” He noted the length of time between the crash and Province’s arrest – Thayer said Province voluntarily surrendered to authorities on Tuesday – as well as DUI defendants being able to continue driving with an ignition interlock device. He denied the prosecution’s request and imposed $10,000 bail, rather than the requested $25,000.

Thayer said Province could post bond the same day, and court records indicate he did so.

He is scheduled to be arraigned April 13.

Camas police officers were dispatched at 11:35 p.m. on a Thursday to the 600 block of Northwest Lake Road. Arriving officers came upon two heavily damaged vehicles and four injured people, the police department said.

Investigators determined that a 2021 BMW X3M being driven by Province crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a Kia Sportage driven by Marisa Silva, 36, according to police and court records.

Silva’s mother, Francine Wohl, 62, was in the passenger’s seat of the Kia. She died the next day.

The BMW belonged to Bogdan Valcu, then 39, who was a passenger as Province drove, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Valcu and Silva suffered extensive injuries. Province received minor injuries, police said.

Province told police he lost control of the car while accelerating up Northwest Lake Road, fishtailed, bounced off a guardrail and swerved into oncoming traffic. He estimated he was driving 35 mph, the posted speed limit in the area, the affidavit states.

However, court documents allege Province was traveling between 62 and 75 mph just five seconds before the collision. Data from the car also showed the accelerator was fully depressed at times, and the SUV’s traction control was turned off, according to the affidavit.

Camas police Detective Sgt. Scott Boyles said the length of time between the crash and Province’s arrest was due to the filing of and receiving responses to search warrants to obtain information from the vehicles’ computers.

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