Christmas crash kills teen on Mt. Scott

Officials say that driver error may have contributed to this deadly outer East Portland crash …

Along SE Mt. Scott Boulevard, in the Lents neighborhood, police close the road to investigate a deadly crash.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After an evening of singing Christmas carols at several Southeast Portland Romanian church member’s homes, five young men were traveling from Happy Valley via SE Mt. Scott Boulevard to Wilsonville, at 1:53 a.m. on Christmas morning, December 25, when the vehicle went off the road and crashed.

“Investigators learned that the young men were traveling in a caravan of three cars at the time of the crash,” reported Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Officers from the PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team investigate the fatal one-car crash.

“Based on preliminary information from the PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team, 17-year-old Seba Pop of West Linn – the driver of a white 1992 Volkswagen Cabriolet – passed one of his friends in the oncoming lane and missed a sharp turn, driving off of the roadway and crashing,” Simpson said.

Dense fog may have played a factor in the crash, Simpson added.

Along this steep, curving section of Mt. Scott Boulevard, Major Crash Team investigators’ markings painted on roadway show the travel of the car before it crashed.

Killed in the crash was 16-year-old Samuel Chiriac of Battle Ground, Washington. Family supplied photo

Killed in the crash was a passenger – 16-year-old Samuel Chiriac of Battle Ground, Washington.

The driver, Seba Pop, is still in critical condition at a Portland hospital, with life-threatening injuries; two other passengers, 15-year-old Caleb Pop of West Linn and 17-year-old Timothy Posteucha of Northeast Portland were transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment of serious but not life-threatening injuries, Simpson reported.

A fifth passenger, 14-year-old Johnny Cristurean of Wood Village, was not injured in the crash, said Simpson.

The following day, friends and family were leaving flowers and notes at the site of the deadly crash.

“None of the occupants [in the crashed vehicle] or in the other vehicles appeared to have been impaired, at the time of the crash,” Simpson stated.

Chiriac’s death was the 43rd traffic fatality in the City of Portland in 2016.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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