Ore. police seek man involved in deputy's fatal crash
By Alan Gustafson and Ruth Liao
A Woodburn man who was driving a car that hit a Marion County patrol cruiser and killed a deputy in June is wanted on homicide charges in connection with the crash on Highway 99E near Gervais.
Police have been searching for De Jesus-Ascencio for about a week, Don Abar, a Marion County deputy district attorney, said Wednesday.
A Marion County grand jury indicted De Jesus-Ascencio on homicide charges in connection with the June 16 crash that resulted in the death of Deputy Kelly Fredinburg, 34, of Independence. Also killed in the crash was Oscar Ascencio-Amaya, 19, of Woodburn. He was a passenger in the car driven by De Jesus-Ascencio.
Homicide charges against De Jesus-Ascencio were not made public until Wednesday because of legal provisions that govern grand jury proceedings, Abar said.
"When we do a secret indictment, it's not public record," he said. "We can't say anything about it until he is arrested. But there is a circumstance where if we're looking for somebody and we need help in apprehension, then we can make some of it public. That's what we've done, but I don't feel comfortable talking about the indictment."
A judge issued an arrest warrant for De Jesus-Ascencio "about 10 days ago" through the indictment, Abar said. Officers seeking to arrest the suspect at his home couldn't find him, he said.
Abar said: "He was in the hospital. He's been back home. We thought he was still home. When the police go to find him, he's not there and they haven't been able to find him for a week."
Fredinburg's brother Kevin said Wednesday that he was disappointed De Jesus-Ascencio was not found and hoped he was still in the country.
"If the driver of the car was any type of man, he'd step forward and take the consequences," he said.
De Jesus-Ascencio was critically injured in the crash and was hospitalized for several weeks at Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland. He was released in mid-July and is believed to be using a walker because of his injuries.
De Jesus-Ascencio was last known to be in the Woodburn area on Aug. 9, according to a news release issued Wednesday by Oregon State Police.
De Jesus-Ascencio was behind the wheel of a northbound Ford Crown Victoria when the crash occurred at 11:30 p.m. June 16, police said.
He reportedly crossed into the southbound lane and collided head-on with the Marion County Sheriff's patrol car driven by Fredinburg. The patrol car caught fire and Fredinburg died at the scene.
Fredinburg was responding to call in Gervais, and his lights and siren were on, officials said.
State police investigated the crash for more than a month before handing over the results to the Marion County District Attorney's Office to determine whether to pursue charges.
The crash investigation was not finished at the time De Jesus-Ascencio was released from the hospital.
"It involved a lot of reconstruction work, accident reconstruction experts," Abar said. "So, that was the time delay."
Kevin Fredinburg said county prosecutors and state police investigators kept in close contact with the family during the investigation. Family members think officials have conducted a rigorous and timely investigation, he said.
"Obviously, the guy was the driver, but they can't sit there and go after somebody until they know all the facts," he said.
Copyright 2007 The Statesman Journal
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