07/05/2006

Ore. officer on leave after fatal crash

By DEE ANNE FINKEN
The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
Copyright 2006 The Oregonian
All Rights Reserved

GRESHAM, Ore.- A Gresham police officer was placed on administrative leave following a weekend collision involving a patrol car and a minivan that left a 29-year-old Portland man dead and two other men hospitalized.

Police refused to comment on reports that the officer was not operating the vehicle's siren or emergency lights and ran a stop sign before hitting the side of the 1996 Dodge Caravan on Saturday night.

"We are not denying it or confirming that," said Sgt. Teddi Anderson of the Gresham Police Department. "We are still doing an investigation, and we are not going to compromise that investigation by commenting."

Marino Sanchez-Sanchez, who was in the minivan's back seat, was pronounced dead at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center.

The driver, Diego D. Martinez, 33, of Portland, and the other passenger, Jose Luis Bahena, 37, of Vancouver, were reported in good condition Monday afternoon at Legacy Emanuel.

Gresham police refused to identify the officer or detail his condition.

"We are not releasing the name of the officer at the request of the Portland Police Bureau," which is investigating the crash, Gresham Police Chief Carla Piluso said.

Sgt. Brian Schmautz, Portland police spokesman, referred inquiries about the collision to Gresham police, who refused to provide details other than that it occurred at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Northeast 188th Avenue and Glisan Street.

Chuck Sparks, a Multnomah County deputy district attorney, confirmed that his office is also investigating the crash. He declined to provide further details.

Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian contributed to this report.

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