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Family remembers 21-year-old victim, Robert Esparza, who was 'caring and respectful'

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: ESPARZA FAMILY - Robert Esparza, 21, was killed after being hit by a 76-year-old driver in 2016. His family remember him as a caring and respectful young man.During the sentencing of a 76-year-old Gresham man for a vehicle crash in September 2016 that led to the death of a 21-year-old bicyclist, the victim's family remembered him as a caring and respectful young man.

Alex Jacoby appeared before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Jerry B. Hodson on April 13, 2018, pleading guilty to one count of criminally negligent homicide. He received 24 months in prison.

Jacoby was driving along Northeast Glisan Street toward the Gresham/Fairview pedestrian trail in his 2016 Chevy Corvette at a very fast speed. Robert Esparza was riding his bicycle on the trail and had entered the crosswalk before being struck.

"We as a family live with Mr. Jacoby's mistake every day, every weekend, every holiday," said Simon Esparza, Robert's father. "We wake up missing our son, brother and uncle. We go to bed wondering why we won't see him tomorrow. Sadly, these questions are answered without response."

Before the crash, which happened around 3:30 a.m., investigators with the East County Vehicular Crimes Team learned that Jacoby had aggressively challenged two other drivers to a street race, which they declined.

FILE PHOTO - Alex JacobyInvestigators said that Jacoby was going near 80 miles per hour about five seconds before the crash. The speed limit along Northeast Glisan Street near Northeast 199th Avenue is 40 miles per hour. Esparza was only a few blocks from his home and was headed to work.

Esparza was transported by paramedics to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center with critical injuries. He died on September 28.

During the sentencing hearing Jacoby expressed remorse.

"He was a great person," Florencio Angel-Ramirez, Robert Esparza's brother-in-law, told the court. "We miss him so much. Robert was devoted to his family, and not a day goes by when we don't think about him. He was everything to us, and it is still very painful."

As part of Jacoby's sentencing, he will have his driver's license permanently revoked. He will also have to pay more than $82,000 in restitution to the Esparza family.

The case was investigated by the Gresham Police Department and the East County Vehicular Crimes Team. Senior Deputy District Attorney Glen Banfield and Chief Deputy District Attorney Kirsten Snowden both handled prosecution of this case.

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