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Jan. 30, 2023

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Driver, SUV sought in fatal Oct. 1 crash in Vancouver

Walnut Grove collision now investigated as vehicular homicide

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating an Oct. 1 fatal crash in the Walnut Grove area as a vehicular homicide.

The sheriff’s office said Monday it learned Oct. 4 that one of the drivers had died of his injuries from the crash. They identified him as 58-year-old Gerald Plato of Vancouver.

Emergency personnel responded to a crash involving multiple vehicles at about 9:20 p.m. near the intersection of Northeast St. Johns Road and 102nd Street. Upon arrival, they found a 2002 Ford Escape on its top in the 9900 block of St. Johns Road.

The driver, Plato, was pinned underneath. A second vehicle, a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette, crashed into a brick wall, according to information from the sheriff’s office and Vancouver Fire Department.

Both drivers required extrication and were taken to area hospitals, according to Vancouver Fire.

The sheriff’s office said preliminary evidence and witness statements suggest that the Corvette and a third vehicle, a white SUV, were traveling together, speeding. After the Corvette collided with the Ford Escape, the white SUV fled the area.

The identity of the Corvette’s driver was not released, pending the filing of criminal charges.

The white SUV was captured on a witness’s dash camera footage. Some area residents believe it could be a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the sheriff’s office said.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has information about the white SUV or driver should contact the sheriff’s office traffic unit detectives at 564-397-4597 and reference case number 22009238.

Detectives have already canvassed the area for additional video footage and are in the process of reviewing it, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office previously said speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors to the collision. The investigation is ongoing.