4 dead, 3 injured after car crashes into homeless camp in Oregon

Four people were killed, and three others were injured after a driver crashed into a homeless camp in Salem early Sunday morning.
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 7:09 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 7:38 PM CDT
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SALEM, Ore. (KPTV/Gray News) - Four people were killed and three others were injured after a driver crashed into a homeless camp in Salem early Sunday morning, the Salem Police Department said.

Police responded to the area at around 2 a.m. Sunday, and officers said they found a car had crashed into a homeless camp, KPTV reported.

Police said two people died at the scene. Four other people from the homeless camp with life-threatening injuries were taken to the hospital, where two later died.

On Monday, police identified the people killed as 24-year-old Jowand Beck, 21-year-old Luke Kagey, 54-year-old Joe Posada III and 29-year-old Rochelle Zamacona.

The people injured were identified as 43-year-old Derrick Hart and 18-year-old Savaanah Miller. As of Monday afternoon, police said they were still hospitalized.

“The car hit the curb, and as it bounced, it accelerated,” witness Angelo Cabantoy said.

Cabantoy was sitting outside of his tent around 2:30 a.m. when he saw a northbound car on Front Street leave the road and plow into his neighbors just feet away.

“I went over there, and about 10 guys lifted the car up and got one guy out from underneath,” he said.

Cabantoy said he doesn’t know the victims personally, but he said they’re still his neighbors.

“I buried my dad, and now I’m burying my friends out here,” he said.

Cabantoy said he’s been homeless for more than two decades, and finding a safe place to call home is a challenge.

“We have our safety, but what can you do if somebody is speeding or racing around the corner?” he said. “When you’re a drunk driver, it could happen to anybody. I’d rather walk in the street then walk in the sidewalk.”

Salem police helped uninjured campers collect their belongings and provided shelter. Three people were taken to a motel. Salem homeless advocacy partners also helped campers connect to needed resources.

As of 8:55 a.m., all streets have opened in the area.

Salem police said the traffic team is investigating the circumstances of the crash and believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor.

The driver of the car, 24-year-old Enrique Rodriguez Jr., was also taken to the hospital, then arrested. He was taken to Marion County Jail on four counts of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, third-degree assault, and reckless endangerment.

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