Man charged in fatal crash on Highway 240
A Lafayette resident has been charged in the early November death of a McMinnville man in a high-speed crash on Highway 240 west of Newberg.
Luis Antonio Mojica Padilla, 28, faces charges of first-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) and reckless endangerment after the Nov. 11 death of McMinnville resident Ivan Omar Chacon Ramirez.
Investigators from the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police described the crash in a probable cause affidavit filed Nov. 15 in Yamhill County Circuit Court.
The report said Padilla was driving westbound on Highway 240 near Red Hills Road at about 10:30 p.m. when he "failed to negotiate a curve, drove into the westbound ditch and collided with the trees."
The 2016 Ford Mustang stuck the trees with such force, the report said, that the car split into two pieces and Ramirez, 21, and his seat were ejected from the vehicle. The two parts of the vehicle ended up on opposite sides of the roadway.
Ramirez was pronounced dead at the scene. Padilla was transported to Oregon Health and Sciences University Hospital with serious injuries.
The author of the probable cause affidavit, OSP Trooper Phil Richardson, said an initial investigation indicated that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.
"Based on my training and experience as both a law enforcement officer and an accredited collision reconstructionist, my interpretation of the evidence on scene indicates that the vehicle was traveling in excess of the speed limit for that area and for the conditions at the time of the crash," Richardson wrote.
Padilla underwent a blood draw at OHSU after the accident and was found to a have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 in Oregon.
When interviewed at the hospital, Padilla said he was at a family celebration, had "like two to three beers" and rated his level of sobriety as "like a little buzzed," when he left the party.
The officer who interviewed him was not convinced.
"Due to Sr. Trooper Danner's statements, Mojica Padilla's hospital BAC, his statements about the crash, his bloodshot and water eyes, the strong odor of alcohol beverage emanating from his breath, and his admission of consuming alcoholic beverages, I had probable cause to believe he was driving under the influence of intoxicants," OSP Trooper Patricia Hernandez wrote.
Padilla was arrested at OHSU and transported to the Yamhill County jail. He was arraigned on the charges by Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday on Nov. 16 and appointed counsel, Salem attorney Walter Todd. He was released on $7,500 bail the following day with conditions, including being required to wear an alcohol-sensing ankle bracelet.
A second arraignment and an indictment on the charges is set for Dec. 13 in Easterday's courtroom. First-degree manslaughter falls under Oregon's Measure 11 minimum sentencing requirements, carrying with it a sentence of 10 years upon conviction.