Wrong-way driver charged with vehicular homicide

Tennant Way crash victims identified

Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014 11:30 pm

Authorities have identified the Longview man who died in Friday night’s multi-car crash on Tennant Way and the Portland woman suspected of causing it.

Brett Dawdy, 47, was dead at the scene after his 2008 Nissan Pathfinder was struck head-on by a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Nichole D. McCaslin, 32, of Portland. Authorities say McCaslin was driving the wrong way in the westbound lane and was intoxicated.

Following the wreck, McCaslin was treated at St. John Medical Center, then booked at the Cowlitz County Jail on suspicion of one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.

Longview police also identified on Saturday the other drivers and passengers involved. All were taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview. All but two — Dawdy’s wife and daughter — were treated and released.

Riding in Dawdy’s Pathfinder were his wife, Shana Dawdy, 44 and 14-year-old daughter. Police declined to release he name. Also in the Pathfinder was a 13-year-old boy, who is a friend of the Dawdys’ daughter, according to investigators.

Police said the Dawdy family was returning from a ski trip.

Shana Dawdy and her daughter both remained hospitalized at St. John Saturday. Both were in satisfactory condition, a nursing supervisor said.

Police said McCaslin’s Jeep also struck a Dodge Avenger driven by Shannon Miler. Also in that vehicle was a teenage boy whose name also was not released.

Karla Schimschal, 35, of Bellingham, was driving an Acura sedan that was struck. Christopher Russell, 34, was a passenger in the Acura. Both were treated and released at St. John, police said.

Longview police officials said Saturday that the Washington State Patrol is still completing its reconstruction of the crash, which occurred at 6:45 p.m. Friday and left vehicles tipped and scattered across the roadway near the Lakeside Industries Asphalt plant.

The eastbound lanes of Tennant Way, which also is called State Route 432, were closed for about two hours to allow access for emergency vehicles. The westbound lanes didn’t reopen until 1:30 a.m. to give the Washington State Patrol time to complete its investigation.

Two other vehicles narrowly missed colliding with McCaslin, police said.

Longview police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash or has information about it to call 360-442-5800.