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News / Clark County News

Vancouver man gets 5 years in 2022 death of pedestrian

He initially left scene after hitting man on Andresen Road

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: February 23, 2024, 5:08pm

A judge sentenced a 20-year-old Vancouver man Friday to five years in prison in connection with an October 2022 crash in which he fatally struck a pedestrian crossing the street.

Jose C. Montoya Sanchez pleaded guilty last month in Clark County Superior Court to vehicular homicide, under the DUI prong. A charge of hit-and-run resulting in death was dismissed as a part of his plea agreement.

The victim in the crash was identified as Dominique Easter, 29, of Vancouver.

Easter’s grandmother told the judge how it upset her that after Montoya Sanchez struck her grandson, he drove away and left him injured in the street. She looked at Montoya Sanchez and told him he took her grandson, who she called the best thing that ever happened to her.

Montoya Sanchez apologized to Easter’s family and asked for their forgiveness.

Judge Robert Lewis ordered the sentence, which was below Montoya Sanchez’s standard range, because of his young age at the time of the crash; he was 18 years old.

“These are always tragic cases,” Lewis said. “There isn’t anything I can do to make them less tragic or to bring back the loss the family suffered.”

Vancouver police responded at 6:51 p.m. Oct. 2 to the 4300 block of Northeast Andresen Road for reports of a serious injury crash. The 911 caller reported a pedestrian was hit by a silver Subaru, which continued driving south before turning west onto Northeast 40th Street, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police and medical personnel arrived to find Easter lying unresponsive in the northbound bike lane. He was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, where he later died, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith said.

While officers were still on scene, Montoya Sanchez arrived in the passenger seat of a black SUV, accompanied by his uncle. Police said Montoya Sanchez admitted he struck Easter with his car and drove away, the affidavit states.

He told officers he parked his car at Northeast 44th Street and St. Johns Road. Police drove there and found a silver Subaru Impreza with significant front-end damage and a large hole in the windshield, according to court records.

Police said Montoya Sanchez told them he drank one beer before he drove to the bank to get money to pay his rent. He was on his way home when the crash occurred, the affidavit states.

Toxicology results from a sample of Montoya Sanchez’s blood showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.054. While Smith noted that’s below Washington’s threshold for drunken driving of 0.08, she said she believed his test results, combined with witness statements about his reckless driving before the crash, would be enough to prove he was intoxicated.