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Driver found hiding after crash near Vernonia

A Columbia County woman is in custody after she allegedly fled the scene of a serious crash late Monday afternoon.

Oregon State Police troopers are continuing to investigate the Sept. 17 single-vehicle crash that seriously injured one person and closed down Highway 47 for two hours by “Stub” Stewart State Park, seven miles south of Vernonia.

The uninjured driver, 26-year-old Julie Ann Maria Johnson, reportedly fled the scene on foot before police arrived, but was found two hours later after witnesses called police to report a suspicious person hiding in the area. Johnson was taken to the Columbia County Jail on numerous charges including driving under the influence of intoxicants, felony hit and run, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving.

The injured passenger, Vernonia resident Sarah Leloff, was transported by LifeFlight to Oregon Health & Science University where she remains in serious condition, according to OSP Sgt. Luke Schwartz.

According to OSP, Johnson was driving a 1990 Honda Accord south on the highway when she travelled onto the shoulder. Investigators believe Johnson lost control and the vehicle rolled over, hitting a pole before coming to rest. Neither occupant was using a seat belt.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Vernonia Police Department assisted OSP troopers in investigating the crash scene and searching for Johnson. The Vernonia Fire Department and ODOT also assisted at the scene.