Court docs: Vancouver hit-and-run suspect confessed to investigators

Court docs: Vancouver hit-and-run suspect confessed to investigators
James Schellhas appears in court Friday morning. (Photo: Stephen Mayer, KATU News)

VANCOUVER, Wash. – The suspect in a hit-and-run crash that critically injured a 20-year-old Vancouver man early Thursday morning told investigators he was the driver, court documents said.

Police arrested James D. Schellhas, 28, on Thursday. He appeared in court Friday morning to face hit-and-run and vehicular assault charges.

The man who was hit, 20-year-old Cody T. Robinson of Vancouver, suffered life-threatening injuries. Robinson is in serious condition in the intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, according to the hospital.

The crash happened at the intersection of Northeast Andresen Road and Fourth Plain Boulevard around 5:30 a.m. Police found an abandoned Chevy Suburban, registered to Schellhas, in a parking lot behind a McDonald's just south of where the crash occurred.

According to court documents, Schellhas drove to the McDonald’s, went into a restroom and was seen on surveillance video leaving the restroom without his jacket. He later called his wife and asked her to pick him up at his work, documents said. Investigators said Schellhas told his wife to report his SUV stolen.

Schellhas first denied being involved in the crash, but later admitted he was the person driving, court documents said. He told detectives that he had a green light and the “dude came out of nowhere wearing dark clothing,” documents said. Schellhas said he drove away from the crash because he was scared and he knew he would go to prison.

Schellhas’ bail was set at $200,000.