PORTLAND, Ore. – An Oregon man is facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, after police said he struck multiple people in a deadly hit-and-run Monday in Portland.
According to the Oregonian, Paul Rivas, 64, of Oregon City, faces charges of second-degree murder; second-degree assault; failure to perform the duties of a driver, leading to injuries; and failure to perform the duties of a driver, leading to death. He remains in the Multnomah County Detention Center, Portland police said in a news release late Tuesday.
Investigators believe Rivas was driving erratically Monday afternoon through a 15-block area of southeast Portland, striking pedestrians and cyclists, the Oregonian reported. One woman, later identified as Jean Gerich, 77, of Portland, was killed and nine others were injured in the incident, according to the newspaper. Medical examiners ruled that Gerich suffered blunt force trauma and listed the death as a homicide, police said.
Family members paid tribute to Gerich in a statement released Tuesday night.
“Jean Gerich was not a nameless victim,” the statement read, according to the police news release. “She was a loving mother of two. She was a proud grandmother of five, ages 4 to 16. She would have turned 78 in 12 days. She beat cancer five years ago. She received her first [COVID-19] 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.”
The family went on to thank “the good Samaritans who were at the scene” and asked for privacy.
Immediately following the incident, authorities took Rivas to a nearby hospital for treatment before booking him into jail, police said.
“Detectives did not find evidence that this was an act of terrorism,” police said in the news release. “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.”
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