Bail was set at $500,000 on Monday for a man who was allegedly driving under the influence when he caused a rollover crash that killed two of his passengers.
Luis A. Perez Salinas, 25, of Vancouver appeared in Clark County Superior Court to face two counts of vehicular homicide-DUII and one count of hit-and-run resulting in death. He was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair — his left arm wrapped in a cast.
Washington State Patrol troopers say alcohol or drugs were a factor in the early Sunday morning crash.
Two of Perez Salinas’ passengers, identified as Aristeo Alejopable, 31, and Margarito Alejopable, 43, died at the scene. A third passenger, Josue B. Gonzalez, 23, was taken to a local hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
Troopers said Perez Salinas was driving a 2011 Ford Fusion at about 2:20 a.m. east on South 11th Street in Ridgefield and ran a stop sign at the intersection of South Timm Road. He drove the car straight through a wire fence and vaulted off a 30-foot embankment. The car flipped and came to rest on its top on southbound Interstate 5. The car’s engine compartment then caught fire, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Two witnesses, Kenneth Olinger and Stormy Bates, stopped to help. They removed three of the occupants from the vehicle. The driver, later identified by troopers as Perez Salinas, exited the vehicle on his own. He fled on foot while Olinger and Bates rendered aid to the other occupants, the affidavit says.
Before being transported to a hospital, Gonzalez told a responding trooper that he was the front passenger and Perez Salinas was the driver, the court document states.
A K-9 from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office was brought in to track Perez Salinas. He was found about 200 feet south of the crash scene, hiding in bushes on an embankment on the shoulder of southbound I-5, according to court records.
The trooper who contacted Perez Salinas said the suspect’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, and there was a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Perez Salinas said he drank three beers before the crash. He refused to perform voluntary field sobriety tests or take a preliminary breath test, the affidavit says.
During Monday’s hearing, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff McCarty said Perez Salinas has no known criminal history and does not have a valid driver’s license. He asked that Perez Salinas’ bail be set at $300,000. Judge Gregory Gonzales said he would set bail consistent with other vehicular homicide cases and set the higher bail.
Perez Salinas will be arraigned Feb. 14.