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  Hit and Run    


Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
Published on Wednesday January 27, 2021 - 7:09 AM

 
The driver from the hit and run incident that occurred on January 25, 2021, in Southeast Portland has been identified as 64 year-old Paul Rivas of Oregon City.

Rivas was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center for the crimes of Murder in the Second Degree, six counts of Assault in the Second Degree, six counts of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Injury), and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Death). Additional charges will be considered by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

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The woman who died in yesterday's hit and run incident has been identified as 77 year-old Jean Gerich of Portland. The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined she died of blunt force trauma and ruled her death a homicide.

Jean's family has been notified. They provided the photos of Jean and the following statement:

"Jean Gerich was not a nameless victim. She was a loving mother of two. She was a proud grandmother of five, ages 4 to 16. She would have turned 78 in twelve days. She beat cancer five years ago. She received her first vaccination shot last week and was overjoyed to get out in the world again. She has lived in the city of Portland since 1972 and for those 48 years she has loved her community of friends, Forest Park, and the proximity to nature.

We are grateful for the good Samaritans who were at the scene.

The family asks for privacy at this time."

Please note the following clarification from an earlier release:

The previous press release listed 10 victims; 2 cyclists and 6 pedestrians. After review of additional reports, of those 10 victims 2 were cyclists, 7 were pedestrians, and one victim, due to head trauma, can't recall if they were in or out of their vehicle when they were hit.

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On January 25, 2021, Portland Police responded to a hit and run incident which left one individual dead and nine others injured. Five victims were transported to the hospital by ambulance and one victim went by private vehicle. Most victims suffered minor injuries and are recovering. Two of the victims were cyclists and six were pedestrians. The name of the person who died will be released later.

The first call about the erratic driving was reported at about 12:00 p.m., and occurred near the area of Southeast 26th Avenue and Southeast Stark Street. A witness reported seeing the suspect vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed and narrowly missing a pedestrian. Another call came in at about 1:00 p.m. regarding the vehicle driving recklessly in the area of Southeast 36th Avenue and Southeast Oak Street. The first call of a victim struck came at 1:02 p.m. where the driver hit a pedestrian in the area of Southeast 33rd Avenue and Southeast Pine Street. Additional witness reports indicate the suspect was traveling approximately 50-60 mph in other parts of the neighborhood as he continued with his erratic driving.

Detectives believe the crime scene covers the area between Southeast Cesar E. Chavez Blvd and Southeast 15th Avenue, from East Burnside Street to Southeast Belmont Street. Detectives are still checking dispatch records for additional calls that may have come in regarding the suspect vehicle.

The suspect was transported to an area hospital, where he remains. Detectives did not find evidence that this was an act of terrorism. Detectives did not find bias indicators, nor do they believe this is politically motivated. Detectives say that the driver's actions did show intent to hit and injure people. Traffic investigators who assisted with the scene did receive a blood draw from the driver, which will be sent a lab for analysis.

The driver's name and charges will be released when he is booked into jail.

"The multiple hit and run crashes by the same suspect yesterday were traumatic for our community," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "Thank you to the many community members who responded to assist victims and alerted police to the suspect. All of us at PPB send our sincere condolences to the loved ones of the person who was killed as well as our hopes for recovery to those injured. We are committed to a full investigation so that the person involved can be held accountable for these senseless acts of violence."

Detectives ask that if community members where witness to any of the driving behaviors associated to a silver Honda Element in or around the crime scene area to please call detectives. Again, if community members who live in or operate businesses that are within the crime scene who may have video, please call Detective Joseph Corona at (503) 823-0508 or [email protected] or Detective Anthony Merrill at (503) 823-4033 or [email protected] and reference case #21-22752.

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According to detectives, one of the pedestrians struck during this incident has died at an area hospital.

On January 25, 2021, at 1:02 p.m., officers from the Central Precinct responded to a hit and run to a pedestrian in the area of Southeast 33rd Avenue and Southeast Pine Street. As officers were responding, calls came into dispatch regarding additional hit and runs to cars and other pedestrians involving the same suspect vehicle.

The suspect vehicle crashed in the area of Southeast Stark Street and Southeast 18th Avenue. The driver of that vehicle fled on foot. Community members who witnessed the crash corralled the suspect until officers arrived on scene and took him into custody. The suspect is being processed and arrest information will be available at a later time.

The crime scene is very large and spans dozens of city blocks. Investigators from the Traffic Division and detectives are on scene to assist with the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to please call Detective Joseph Corona at (503) 823-0508 or [email protected] or Detective Anthony Merrill at (503) 823-4033 or [email protected] and reference case #21-22752.

ORIGINAL REPORT BELOW

On January 25, 2020, at about 1:02 p.m., Portland Police began receiving calls about a vehicle that struck pedestrians and vehicles along several blocks west from Southeast 33rd Avenue and Stark Street down to Southeast 13th Avenue.

There are crime scenes along several blocks. Police ask that witnesses or anyone who finds what they believe is evidence, reach out to officers in the area or call the non-emergency number (503-823-3333) to provide information.

This incident is under investigation.