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Columbia County hit and run victim identified

This is what investigating officers found when they came upon the scene of the deadly hit and run crash that killed Peter Michael Linden on Aug. 30.
Photo Courtesy of the Oregon State Police

The Oregon State Police say the victim of a deadly hit and run crash near Rainier on Aug. 30 was a St. Helens man. The crash occurred just before 3 p.m., and the involved driver was detained a few minutes later.

Police say Peter Michael Linden, 74, of St. Helens, was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Emergency personnel responded and found Linden's body over an embankment. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash involved a truck and bicycle and occurred around 2:56 p.m. along the westbound lanes of Highway 30 near milepost 50 just west of Rainier. The driver of the truck, identified as Kristopher Lee Woodruff, 34, of Vernonia, kept driving. He was stopped by an Oregon State Police trooper at milepost 55 a few minutes later.

The investigation so far has revealed that Woodruff was traveling westbound and became distracted while looking at a text message on his phone. His truck traveled onto the shoulder and struck Linden as he rode. Woodruff continued driving until he was stopped by the Oregon State Police.

Police say that Woodruff provided a North Dakota identification card with a Minot address, but did not have a valid driver's license. He was taken to the Columbia County Jail, where he is lodged on charges of manslaughter in the first degree, felony hit and run, and a misdemeanor warrant from Washington County for failure to appear regarding a violation of a release agreement. Woodruff's bail is set at $12,500.

The Oregon State Police, Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Rainier Police Department are handling the investigation. The Columbia County District Attorney's Office was notified and is assisting with the investigation.