CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — A woman in custody jumped out of a moving Clark County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle on Interstate 5 Monday afternoon, which led to an hours-long lane closure on the freeway that backed up southbound traffic for miles.
The woman, identified Tuesday as Sara Gottwig-Carr, was taken to a Vancouver hospital and is in critical condition, according to the Washington State Patrol (WSP).
In a news release, the Clark County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) said the woman was being taken to jail on a domestic violence assault charge when, shortly after noon, she removed her seat belt and jumped out of the rear passenger side window while the vehicle was moving at "freeway speeds."
Ashley Rappleye said she was about two car lengths behind the sheriff's office vehicle, which she said was in the right lane when the woman jumped out.
"Next thing I know, this pink starts coming out the window," Rappleye said. "I'm wondering is that a blanket, what is that? Next thing I know, it's a woman -- went head-first, toppled and flipped and flopped. Her hands were cuffed behind her back."
She said the woman landed on the shoulder of the freeway and the deputy immediately pulled off to the side of the freeway.
The incident led to a closure of the right lane of southbound I-5 near 199th Street in Clark County. The lane remained closed until shortly after 3:30 p.m., when it was reopened, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). A backup of seven miles, to ilani Casino in Ridgefield, was reported earlier in the afternoon.
WSP assisted CCSO with responding to the incident. Deputy Billy Childers, who was driving the patrol car, has been placed on leave, CCSO said. The Southwest Regional Independent Investigation Team is now investigating.