BATTLE GROUND — An 11-year-old girl who was apparently waiting for the school bus and attempted to cross the road was struck by a minivan just north of Daybreak Park this morning, according to a news release from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
A YouCaring fundraising page that was set up for the girl this afternoon identified her as 11-year-old Elizabeth Smith. The page was organized by Melisa Nielsen Robertson.
The page states: “Little 11-year-old Elizabeth was hit by a vehicle while waiting for the school bus the morning of 10/19/2016. Her family is absolutely devastated by the loss of this little angel that god needed to call up. Elizabeth was such a (bright) and caring young lady that always had a smile that would instantly warm your heart when you saw it.”
“As you can imagine the funeral costs from unexpectedly (losing) a child can be a huge burden on a already crushed family. Please help, if you can to offset these costs for the family so they can concentrate on healing at this time. Thank you for everything.”
Donate to help with Elizabeth’s funeral costs at the YouCaring page.
According to the news release from the Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Fire & Rescue personnel and sheriff’s deputies responded to a vehicle and pedestrian traffic collision at 8:42 a.m. on Wednesday at the 28900 block of Northeast 82nd Avenue. A preliminary investigation showed that a minivan operated by a 77-year-old male, identified as Dennis Gene Lemke of La Center, was southbound on Northeast 82nd Avenue when the vehicle struck the girl while she was within the southbound travel lane of the roadway.
Initial reports were that the child was riding a bicycle, however, there was no bicycle involved and Elizabeth was on foot and apparently trying to cross the roadway, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Elizabeth was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the news release, at the time of the crash there were reported foggy conditions, which may have been a contributing factor. There was also a report that the driver was attempting to leave the scene, however, investigators are not considering this a hit-and-run investigation.
An updated news release from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office posted around 3:30 p.m. states that Lemke did stop at the scene and that he was instructed by first responders to move his vehicle, as it was in the way. Investigators do not believe Lemke was attempting to flee the scene. He is fully cooperating with the investigation, there are no indications of excessive speed or impairment and he voluntarily submitted to a blood draw, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
No charges have been filed or are anticipated at this time. Detectives with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit are continuing their investigation.
Just more than three years ago, Battle Ground High School student Justin Carey, who was 16 at the time, was hit while waiting for the school bus in the same location. The driver of the vehicle, Shaun Johnson, fled the scene and was later convicted of vehicular assault. However, her conviction was recently overturned and she is currently awaiting a new trial. As a result of his injuries, Carey had to have one of his legs amputated.