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Aug. 7, 2022

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Man arrested in fatal hit-and-run crash in January in Hazel Dell

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

Local authorities arrested a man Wednesday in connection with a Jan. 23 fatal hit-and-run crash in Hazel Dell.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit developed probable cause to arrest Joseph A. Rachauskas, 47, on suspicion of vehicular homicide. He was located in the Fred Meyer parking lot at 7700 N.E. Highway 99, according to an agency news release.

Rachauskas was also wanted by several agencies in Oregon and Southwest Washington for various alleged crimes. He was taken into custody by sheriff’s detectives, with assistance from deputies and Washougal police, the sheriff’s office said.

Emergency responders with the sheriff’s office, Clark County Fire District 6 and AMR were dispatched shortly before 1 p.m. to a two-vehicle serious injury hit-and-run crash at Northeast 88th Street and Highway 99.

Deputies determined a 2005 Ford F-250 was traveling south on Highway 99 when it went through a red light at 88th Street and struck an eastbound 2013 Mercedes sedan. The pickup was reported stolen out of Washington County, Ore., the sheriff’s office said.

The driver of the Mercedes, identified as William Stevens, 52, of Vancouver, was extricated from the car and taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. The driver of the pickup ran from the scene; a search for the man was unsuccessful.

Rachauskas is scheduled to make a first appearance Friday in Clark County Superior Court.

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