Friday, May 27, 2022
May 27, 2022

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Vancouver man in court in hit-run, reckless driving case

By , Columbian staff writer

A Vancouver man who’s accused of nearly hitting a pedestrian with his pickup and crashing into several parked vehicles and houses in east Vancouver appeared Thursday in Clark County Superior Court.

Rodney Leo Jarvela, 51, is facing allegations of second-degree assault, hit-and-run, reckless driving and driving under the influence, a gross misdemeanor. He appeared via Zoom from the Clark County Jail and looked to have a bruise on his chin and a swollen cheek.

Judge David Gregerson set his bail at $35,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 3.

Vancouver police responded around 10:20 a.m. Monday to multiple 911 calls from people reporting a man driving a dark green Ram 1500 pickup recklessly and speeding near the Fred Meyer on Chkalov Drive.

Callers said the driver, later identified by police as Jarvela, was making sudden lane changes and U-turns and driving onto the raised concrete median. He was estimated to be driving 70 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A woman walking on the sidewalk in the 1400 block of Southeast McGillivray Boulevard saw the truck speeding directly toward her. She told police she made eye contact with the driver and that he was staring at her as he drove up onto the sidewalk. She ran into someone’s yard and avoided being hit by about 5 feet, the affidavit says.

Then, the driver made a U-turn, she said, and accelerated toward her again. She ran into another yard, and Jarvela stopped and drove away, according to the affidavit.

A witness reported that several drivers had to swerve to avoid being hit by Jarvela as he suddenly changed lanes. The witness also said Jarvela hit an SUV parked on the shoulder, pushing it into the road, court records state.

Another witness told police Jarvela also struck a city light pole in a median on McGillivray Boulevard. Police said they found debris matching the Ram near the light pole, according to court records.

The driver of the pickup crossed into oncoming lanes before driving the pickup onto the sidewalk and hitting a retaining wall in someone’s yard. The pickup continued through a yard and hit a parked Subaru Outback, pushing it into the house next door. It also hit two garages before stopping partially into a house in the 1400 block of McGillivray Boulevard. Debris from the crashes also damaged another nearby car, the affidavit says.

The residents of both houses were home, but no one was injured, court records state.

Police said they saw Jarvela climb out of the truck and hide underneath it. After he was arrested, Jarvela allegedly told police he’d used cocaine prior to driving. Officers sent a blood sample to the state toxicology lab for testing, the affidavit says.

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