first_imgA Clark County jury is deliberating today in the trial of a Battle Ground man accused of vehicular homicide in the 2012 death of his 17-year-old girlfriend in a traffic collision near that city.Ryan Matison, 22, is charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving in connection with the crash on Black Friday of that year.In closing arguments Thursday, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu alleged that Matison was recklessly driving his 1994 Toyota Corolla by speeding excessively and failing to stop at a stop sign on southbound Northeast 29th Avenue at the intersection of state Highway 502. His car collided with an eastbound 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup. The impact killed Matison’s girlfriend, Samantha Effingham, 17, of Woodland, who was in the Corolla’s passenger seat.The jury must decide whether Matison drove with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”Washington State Patrol Detective Jennifer Ortiz said Matison was driving 59 to 64 mph in a 40-mph zone on Northeast 29th Avenue when his Corolla entered the intersection.A couple who were driving on the road at the same time testified that Matison passed them at a high rate of speed just before the crash, and they were fearful that his vehicle would strike theirs.“He was driving down that road like a bat out of hell probably not paying attention,” Vu said Thursday. “He passed the (couple) and didn’t have time to stop at that stop sign and blew through it. … As a result, we lost a beautiful life.”last_img read more