Law enforcement arrested a 42-year-old Vancouver woman in Washougal today after she allegedly led them on a high-speed chase through Washougal’s new Highway 14 roundabouts, becoming “airborne” before racing through the Columbia River Gorge, throwing burning clothing from her car windows, crashing her car near the Bridge of the Gods and escaping on foot after her vehicle caught on fire.
The unusual series of events, which police say caused no injuries, began at 7:51 a.m. this morning, when a Skamania County deputy in a marked patrol car clocked a 1994 Toyota Camry driving 110 miles per hour (mph) on state Route 14 (Highway 14) near milepost 12, approaching the new traffic roundabouts.
The deputy tried unsuccessfully to stop the driver, later identified as Amie D. Maderos of Vancouver, but eventually engaged in a high-speed pursuit for the next nine miles.
“The driver … accelerated, becoming airborne on both roundabouts,” according to a press release from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office sent to media this afternoon. “(The) deputy terminated the pursuit at milepost 21 (on Highway 14) due to the driver using both lanes of travel.”
The deputy caught up to the Camry again at Cape Horn, but said Maderos accelerated again and “at some point prior to milepost 33” started to throw clothing she’d apparently lit on fire out the window.
By this point, additional Skamania County Sheriff’s deputies had arrived at mileposts 33 and 39 to help stop the Camry.
“Attempts to stop the vehicle were met with negative results,” the press release stated, with deputies, troopers and Department of Fish and Wildlife officers losing sight of the vehicle “due to excessive speeds and reckless passing.”
The Sheriff’s Office reported that Maderos crashed her vehicle near the Bridge of the Gods entry in Cascade Locks, Oregon, on the other side of the Columbia River.
“Witnesses watched as the Camry caught fire, (and) Maderos fled the scene on foot,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in the press release.
Law enforcement later found and arrested an uninjured Maderos in Washougal. She is being lodged at the Skamania County Jail on felony and misdemeanor charges.