Drunk Washington man runs over 2 German tourists sunbathing at swimming hole killing them instantly
Police arrested 71-year-old David E. Croswell from Washougal, Washington, and held him on suspicion of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of intoxicants and hit-and-run driving that causes death
WASHOUGAL: Two German tourists visiting family in nearby Portland, Oregon, were run over and killed by a local man as they sunbathed by a swimming hole, police in Washington state said on Wednesday, June 26.
Police arrested 71-year-old David E. Croswell from Washougal, Washington, and held him on suspicion of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of intoxicants and hit-and-run driving that causes death.
The two people killed were identified as 61-year-old Rudolf Hohstadt and 62-year-old Regina Hohstadt, both from Germany. The pair had arrived in the United States only a few days ago to visit the Portland metropolitan area and took a trip to the Washougal River, police said. The river in southwest Washington is about a 30-minute drive from Portland.
It wasn't immediately clear where in Germany the Hohstadts were from. A note on the gate at Croswell's home on June 26 said the family would not comment and asked reporters to leave the property.
Authorities say Croswell told them he had been drinking at a local restaurant on Tuesday, June 25, before the crash. Court documents show a preliminary breath test taken nearly four hours after the crash found he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.085. In Washington, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater is considered evidence of drunken driving.
He made his first court appearance on June 26 morning, where bail was set at $500,000. He will be arraigned on July 10. The Columbian newspaper reports that Croswell's court-appointed attorney, Shon Bogar, said Croswell is a lifelong Washougal resident. Bogar said his client has medical problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Bogar asked the judge to set a more reasonable bail amount. In a statement, police said Croswell didn't stop or slow down after crashing through the fence. He tore down a steep embankment to the sunbathing area, turned hard to the left, ran over the victims and then circled up a berm, knocked over a sign and left through the other side of the parking lot. He was arrested several miles away, police said.
Authorities do not believe Croswell and the victims knew each other or had any interaction before the crash. The incident shocked the small riverside town that has been growing rapidly in recent years gaining popularity as a far-flung and more affordable bedroom community for Portland and Vancouver, Washington.
Residents stopped by on June 26 to leave flowers. A chain link fence edging a small parking lot was ripped out of the ground where the car had crashed through. Neon orange spray-paint in the grass marked the car's trajectory from the parking lot, which sits on a hill overlooking the river, to the grassy park and sandy beach below.
Triangles in the same orange paint indicated where the Hohstadts had been sunbathing when they were struck. Dark circles of dried blood appeared in the grass inside the triangles.