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Vancouver grandfather killed in possible street racing crash, deputies searching for driver

Jerry Plato leaves behind a large family consisting of 16 grandchildren.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Vancouver deputies are searching for a driver involved in a possible street racing crash that killed Jerry Plato, 58, earlier this month. 

"It's hard," Sheila said. "We're going to put a memorial up once we get permits and stuff."

Northeast St Johns Road and 99th Street is where Sheila's husband of 23 years, Jerry Plato, was involved in a horrific crash.

It was approximately 9:30 p.m. on the night of Oct. 1. Sheila said Jerry was driving for DoorDash when his Ford Escape was hit and flipped on its top by a Corvette that may have been street racing a second vehicle.

"I'm not sure how they didn't see him," Sheila said. "I don't know if it was a depth perception issue or what. My understanding is alcohol was involved."

Credit: Clark Co. Sheriff's Office
Aerial view of crash scene.

Partially ejected and pinned under his car, Jerry had to be extricated by first responders. The 58-year-old was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died in the early morning hours of Oct. 4.

"It's horrifying and I keep waiting to wake up but I don't think there's a word to describe the loss myself and whole family feels," Sheila said.

Jerry leaves behind four children and 16 grandchildren. All of them will miss his happy-go-lucky attitude and one of his favorite hobbies: dressing up as Santa at Christmas.

Credit: Sheila Plato
Jerry Plato liked dressing up as Santa at Christmas.

"The whole Santa Clause thing took on a life of its own and he was already growing his beard for this year," Sheila said. 

It makes what happened back in early October all the more upsetting.

"Not that life is fair but it's not fair," Sheila said. "It's ridiculous and it didn't need to happen and that's what I'm angry about."

If anything gives Sheila a sense of relief it is that detectives know who was driving the Corvette that hit Jerry. In fact, criminal charges are coming. Sheila is hoping authorities can track down the driver of the second vehicle. It might be a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, based on evidence. 

Credit: Clark Co. Sheriff's Office
Possible Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

"I'm hoping maybe that he will have a heart and come forward," Sheila said. "I really hope so."

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

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