Woman killed in four-vehicle crash on SR 500 in east Orchards

Police suspect Camas woman who caused crash may have been impaired

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

Law enforcement suspect an impaired driver may have caused a four-vehicle crash that killed a Vancouver woman in the east Orchards area this morning, which blocked both lanes on state Highway 500 for several hours.

Troopers with the Washington State Patrol were called to a crash on state Highway 500 near 182nd Avenue just before 9:30 a.m. and arrived to find a crash involving four vehicles.

According to the state patrol, Camas’ Pamela S. Alexander, 53, was heading west on Highway 500 around milepost 9, about a mile east of the Vancouver city limits.

Alexander went over the center line, the state patrol said, and hit the rear of a pickup driven by Vancouver’s Maria D. Zepedachaparro, 38. Zepedachaparro was eastbound.

Alexander’s SUV then slammed head on into another vehicle, an eastbound SUV driven by Jonna D. Porteous, 68, of Vancouver.

The crash sent Zepedachaparro over the center line, where she struck a fourth vehicle, driven by Washougal’s Eric M. Mazemke, 44, who was heading west.

Porteous died after being taken to a hospital. Alexander and Mazemke were injured and taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for their injuries. Both had been treated and released later that afternoon, according to the hospital. Zepedachaparro was hurt but not hospitalized.

The crash totaled all four vehicles, according to the state patrol.

The agency said that afternoon the crash was still under investigation, but Trooper Will Finn said it appeared to investigators that the causing driver may have been under the influence or drugs. The state patrol said later that afternoon it was still unknown whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Both lanes of traffic were blocked until about noon, when Washington State Department of Transportation reported that alternating traffic was getting through the area.