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Man gets 25 years in homeless camp crash

Four killed in 2022 incident, including former Sweet Home resident

A Salem man was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 11, in Marion County Circuit Court to 25 years in prison for his role in a March 2022 DUII incident that killed four people, including former Sweet Home resident Rochelle Zamacona, and seriously injured two more in downtown Salem.

According to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, Enrique Rodriguez Jr., 25, was speeding in his Nissan 300ZX during the early morning hours of March 27, 2022, when he crashed into a homeless encampment at the Front St. NE intersection.

Four people died in the crash, including the 29-year-old Zamacona, 24-year-old Jowand Beck, 21-year-old Luke Kagey and 54-year-old Joseph Posada.

Among the seriously injured were 43-year-old Derrick Hart and 18-year-old Savannah Miller. Both survived.

The suspect’s driver’s license was suspended at the time of the incident. He also had a reported blood alcohol content of .224%.

He was subsequently charged with two counts of first-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, DUII, reckless driving and three counts of recklessly endangering another person. He had no prior criminal convictions.

Rodriguez previously pled guilty to all 11 charges on Nov. 2, 2022.

Following his sentencing, he was transported from the Marion County Jail, where he had been held since the fatal crash, to the Oregon Department of Corrections.

“One person and one person alone stands responsible for the senseless and avoidable deaths of these vulnerable members of our community, and that is Enrique Rodriguez,” Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson said.

“While today’s sentence does not erase this tragic event, my hope is that the families of those killed and the survivors can move forward knowing the man responsible has been held accountable,” Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said.

“I am grateful for the swift and professional actions taken by my officers and the firefighters and paramedics to assist the injured at this catastrophic scene.

“I am proud of the work done by our Traffic Team to investigate and build a case to present to the district attorney, ultimately bringing justice to the victims.”

Rochelle Zamacona

Zamacona graduated from Sweet Home High School in 2010, where she was active in sports as a former all-league soccer player and in the equestrian program. She was also one of five candidates for the 2009 Sweet Home Rodeo Queen.

Following her graduation, she had numerous brushes with the law as she struggled with what acquaintances described in April 2022 as “mental health issues” and drugs.

Despite her challenges, however, she was able to work as a waitress in Alaska and in Tillamook at various times. She had only been in Salem for a couple of weeks before her death, according to acquaintances.