Passenger dies in stolen car’s crash at Lents Park

See how an early morning outer East Portland joyride in Lents turned fatal, when the driver sped through a stop light …

Paramedics work to free trapped victims, after a stolen car smashes into two other cars, and rolls onto its top, in front of Lents Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A speeding gold 1994 Honda Accord sedan caught the attention of a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct District officer just after 2:30 a.m. on April 22, as it headed toward Lents Park on Holgate Boulevard, from about SE 94th Avenue.

The eastbound officer pulled a quick U-turn and tailed the speeding vehicle.

“As soon as the officer activated the police lights to stop the Honda, the driver sped away and moments later ran a red light at SE 92nd Avenue and became involved in a collision with two other vehicles,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Many people were injured during the smashup – one seriously – Simpson said at the time.

The PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team closed off the intersection on into the daylight hours as they investigated this wreck.

Police say this Honda had been stolen earlier in the week.

The bureau’s Crash Team learned that 28-year-old Christopher Allen Schmidt was driving a tan 1994 Honda Accord, Simpson said. “The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when he ran the red light.”

Schmidt was taken by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment of serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. His front seat passenger, 25-year-old Amanda Atkinson, was also transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

But the rear passenger, 49-year-old Theodore Swan, was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital with life-threatening injuries – and he died of those injuries on April 25 while still in the hospital.

Officers learned that the car Schmidt was driving was reported stolen.

The first car Schmidt struck was a black 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser, being driven southbound on 92nd Avenue; neither the driver nor the passenger required hospitalization.

As a result of this accident, the driver of this reportedly stolen car is likely to face numerous charges, once he’s released from the hospital.

The second car Schmidt struck was a red 1993 Honda Civic, driven by 28-year-old Jamien Zapata. Zapata was stopped at the red light facing eastbound on Holgate at the time of the crash. Zapata was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for a serious, but not life-threatening, injury. Neither of his passengers, 36-year-old Joshua Koulavong or 18-year-old Jasmine Guerrero, suffered any serious injuries.

Schmidt remains in the hospital receiving medical treatment for serious injuries. “Schmidt is expected to face charges after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office presents the case to a Grand Jury,” Simpson said.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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