Monday, April 8, 2013

Cowlitz County driver faces multiple charges in insurance fraud case

A Cowlitz County woman faces multiple charges after she allegedly ran into another vehicle, fled the scene, and falsely filed reports with police and her insurer claiming that her car had been stolen.

Kaitlyn D. Karthauser, 21, was charged March 27th in Lewis County Superior Court with hit and run, second-degree perjury, insurance fraud, and making a false statement to police.

On Oct. 20, 2012, around 3:30 a.m., according to investigators, Karthauser was driving her gray Saturn north on Interstate 5 when she rear-ended a white car in front of her. She allegedly pulled over, looked over her car for damage, then drove off. The other driver sustained head and back injuries and was taken to a hospital in nearby Centralia. Troopers discovered the front license plate from Karthauser's car among the collision debris at the scene.

About 40 minutes later, the Chehalis Police Department spotted Karthauser's Saturn abandoned in a city park one freeway exit up from where the collision took place.

Eight hours later, Karthauser called the Castle Rock Police Department and reported that someone had stolen her car the night before. She signed a theft report. An hour after that, she called her auto insurer and filed a claim for her stolen car.

On Oct. 22, when told that the State Patrol would check her cell phone records to determine where she was during the time of the crash, Karthauser allegedly admitted to a State Patrol investigator that she lied when she reported the car stolen. The following morning, she called her insurer and told them the same thing.

She said she was driving to a friend's house late at night when she fell asleep and hit the other car. She was jarred awake by the collision, and upon seeing the damage, she said, she panicked and drove off.