A Yacolt woman who jumped out of a Clark County sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle as it traveled south on Interstate 5 around noon on Monday remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Washington State Patrol is investigating the in-custody incident, said trooper spokesman Will Finn at a Tuesday morning news conference in Vancouver.
As of Tuesday morning, troopers had not yet spoken with the woman, who is receiving treatment for serious injuries at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Finn said.
Deputy Billy Childers had been transporting the woman to the Clark County Jail on suspicion of fourth-degree domestic-violence assault and interfering with a 911 call, authorities said. That alleged crime happened in Yacolt, Clark County, Finn said, and requires mandatory detainment. The Seattle Times is not naming the woman as she does not appear to have been charged with a crime.
While en route, the woman unfastened her seat belt and climbed out the rear passenger’s side window of the sheriff’s office SUV, which was traveling at freeway speed near the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in Ridgefield, according to a sheriff’s office. Finn said the woman’s hands were cuffed behind her back.
It’s still unknown how the woman managed to climb out of the moving vehicle, why she decided to do so or whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Troopers are unsure how she rolled down the back seat window or if she did, but Finn said the SUV she was in is not equipped with metal bars, as some law-enforcement vehicles are.
The woman hit the ground on the right lane of southbound I-5 and ended up on the shoulder of the freeway, Finn said. Childers pulled over and started rendering medical aid immediately, he said.
Childers is an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. He has been placed on critical-incident leave, which is normal procedure.
Emergency dispatch logs show deputies, troopers, firefighters and medics all responded to the scene.
The investigation is not criminal in nature, and troopers aren’t expecting to file charges against the woman for her alleged actions while en route to jail. She may face additional charges from the sheriff’s office.