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News / Clark County News

Portland woman faces vehicular homicide in wrong-way crash on I-5 that killed another driver

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: February 5, 2024, 3:35pm

Investigators said a Portland woman’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when she crashed into another car, killing the other driver, early Saturday on northbound Interstate 5.

Amy Marie Gaudette, 43, appeared Monday afternoon via Zoom in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of vehicular homicide. She wore a suicide-prevention smock, given to inmates who may try to harm themselves with standard jail clothing.

Judge Jennifer Snider set Gaudette’s bail at $90,000, and her arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 20.

If Gaudette posts bail, the judge ordered she be subject to an interlock device, SCRAM monitoring, and random urine and blood analysis.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Gaudette was driving south in the northbound lanes of I-5 shortly after midnight when she hit a 1992 Honda Accord head-on near the Mill Plain Boulevard exit.

Rescuers extricated the Honda’s driver, 67-year-old Stephen M. Wesley of Vancouver, in about 10 minutes, and he was taken to the hospital, the Vancouver Fire Department said.

Wesley later died of his injuries at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Court records state he suffered a skull fracture and blunt-force trauma to the chest, among other injuries.

Minutes before the crash, a Washington State Patrol trooper reported seeing a wrong-way driver traveling west in the eastbound lanes of state Highway 500 near the St. Johns Boulevard exit, according to the affidavit.

When troopers arrived at the crash scene, they noted the odor of alcohol coming from Gaudette and that her eyes were watery and bloodshot and her speech was slurred, the affidavit states.

Gaudette allegedly said she had been drinking and recently fought with her boyfriend. She said she knew she was driving the wrong way on I-5 and could not cross the barrier to get to the correct side, court records say.

She agreed to take field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, but she allegedly said she would fail them, according to the affidavit.

The preliminary breath test found she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.180. In Washington, a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 is considered evidence of drunken driving.

Gaudette’s blood was drawn for further toxicology testing, the affidavit states.