Drunk driver mows down pedestrian, mangles car, in Montavilla

When you see the pictures, you’ll be amazed that the accused drunk driver didn’t also die in this crash. It seems he’s been in trouble with the law before …

In the southwest corner of East Burnside Street and 82nd Avenue of Roses, a speeding minivan with an allegedly drunk driver at the wheel, kills a pedestrian before smashing into a steel utility pole.

By David F. Ashton

Witnesses said there wasn’t any sound of screeching tires before a silver minivan drove headlong through the intersection of East Burnside Street and 82nd Avenue of Roses late on October 21 – just the “thud” of a pedestrian being struck and killed, followed by a horrendous crash.

Responding Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers at 11:37 p.m. found a dead male pedestrian in the street.

It’s an understatement to describe the minivan as “heavily damaged” – which is how Portland Police officials put it – after striking a utility pole and traffic signal control box in the southwest corner of the intersection, across the street from the closed Walgreen’s store.

Firefighter/Paramedics look into the smashed car after the crash victim has been sent to a ‘local’ hospital.

“The severely-injured driver was removed by a Portland Fire & Rescue’s Mill Park Station #7 Ladder Company, using their Holmatro Rescue Tools, and taken to a local hospital by ambulance with injuries that officials characterized as “life threatening”.

The PPB’s Major Crash Team determined that speed and alcohol did seem to be factors in the crash.

It looks as if this sturdy steel traffic signal control box actually splintered, after being rammed by the caroming minivan.

Three days later, on October 24, PPB officials revealed that the pedestrian who’d been struck and killed was 66-year-old James Brian Fenimore.

Also identified in the announcement was the driver of the vehicle that hit him, 39-year-old Vichea Jay Pok. Due to Pok’s severe injuries, he was cited – but not arrested – on a Felony charge of Manslaughter in the First Degree, Driving Under Intoxicants, and Reckless Driving – and additional charges are pending.

Officers examine the mangled minivan, after the driver was extracted by firefighters.

Perhaps it is a coincidence, but a man, then 38 years old, named Vichea Jay Pok, was also arrested in July, 2022 in East Portland – and booked on three counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree attempted assault. Clearly, this Pok was no longer in custody, or on “close parole supervision”.

The engine of the minivan was ejected from the vehicle during this violent crash.

If you have any information about this crash or the driver, and have not spoken to officers, contact crimetips@police.portlandoregon.gov, to the attention of the Traffic Investigations Unit, and refer to Case No. 23-276424.

Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero program objectives have suffered yet another blow; this is the 53rd traffic-related fatality this year in Portland.

Images courtesy of KPTV FOX 12 Oregon News

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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