Joe Bike

Arrest in St. Johns hit-and-run and prison sentence for crash on N Willamette

Posted by on January 10th, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Damage from the scene of 2018 crash on North Willamette Blvd.
(Photo: PPB)

We have updates on two crashes that claimed the lives of two people in 2017 and 2018.

Today the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County District Attorney announced major developments in cases that involved fatal traffic crashes in north Portland.

The PPB says they’ve arrested a man for the death of Daniel Ramsey, who was struck while walking across North Fessenden Street on November 26th, 2017. 22-year-old Luis Silva Echeverria-Navarrete was arrested in Hillsboro after an investigation by the PPB’s Traffic Investigations Unit. Using tips from people in the community, Echeverria-Navarrete was identified as the driver and has been charged with manslaughter, failure to perform the duties of a driver, driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving. He was arraigned today.

And the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office has announced that 24-year-old Calum Breitenberg has been given a 48-month prison sentence for killing a man with his car. On November 15th, 2018 Breitenberg was driving at a high rate of speed on North Willamette Blvd near Alma (across from Cathedral Coffee) when he lost control of his car, smashed into parked cars, and fatally wounded 32-year-old Jason Barns who was in street collecting cans from trash bins.

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As part of his plea deal, Breitenberg must watch video of Barns’ memorial service then write a letter to the family about how it made him feel.

According to MCDA, Breitenberg pleaded guilty to one count of criminally negligent homicide and one count of driving under the influence of intoxicants. “Mr. Barns’ family wanted to ensure accountability but also wanted to make sure Mr. Breitenberg had a deeper understanding of his actions and is given an opportunity to rehabilitate. This sentence accomplishes all of the family’s wishes,” said Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney David Hannon.

As part of his sentence, Breitenberg receives five years probation and has had his driver’s license revoked (he can re-apply for driving privileges 10 years after his release). He also must perform 160 hours of community service, attend the DUII Victim Impact Panel and watch a video of Barns’ memorial service and then write a letter to the court about his reactions to the memorial service. “Mr. Barns’ family believes this important condition of sentencing will allow Breitenberg to see the impact Mr. Barns’ death had on his family, friends and the community,” reads an MCDA statement released this afternoon.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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30 Comments
  • Avatar
    dwk January 10, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    48 months for killing someone…wow.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Keep in mind that the family was closely involved in the process and would have agreed with this. I have a hunch the other – non-prison elements – of his sentence are more important to them then time behind bars.

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        9watts January 10, 2020 at 2:53 pm

        Thanks for highlighting this aspect, Jonathan.
        Victim Offender Reconciliation is something few people seem to know much about, and it is I think worth our while to become familiar with it. Locking people up and ‘throwing away the key’ may strike some folks as necessary but it is hardly the best we can come up with in situations like this.

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          dwk January 10, 2020 at 3:47 pm

          He was doing 80mph…. twice the legal limit.
          I know the family feels better, I don’t when I am on the streets….

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            Gary B January 13, 2020 at 9:17 am

            What’s your threshold for feeling safer? If this person got 6 years? 10 years? You think if and when they go back to driving, they’ll be a better driver after some magical number of years in prison?

            4 years is a substantial term. Short of keeping someone dangerous “off the street,” lengthening prison terms hits diminishing returns very quickly. There is a reason a “life term” in Sweden is 10 years. We all want justice and, secondly, deterrance. I don’t know that there’s a better term that would accomplish #1, and I’m quite certain a longer sentence will have negligible impact on #2.

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              dwk January 13, 2020 at 9:36 am

              This blog was merciless in calling for extradition and imprisonment of the Saudi national who
              ran over and killed the poor women on Hawthorn last year… I guess it really does depend on what color the perpetrator is here on this “progressive” blog.

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              • Avatar
                Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 13, 2020 at 9:42 am

                You’re wrong dwk. Some people who comment on this site were calling for that. Not “this blog”. Big difference.

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                9watts January 13, 2020 at 9:47 am

                “extradition and imprisonment”

                You would do well to read more carefully. In my recollection people were demanding justice, extradition, due process in that case, none of which occurred. You reflexively lumped imprisonment in there, but I don’t think all of us you are tarring with this inconsistency so glibly collapse those two as you are.

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          middle of the road guy January 13, 2020 at 9:26 am

          it’s hardly the worst, though.

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            9watts January 13, 2020 at 9:41 am

            Cute. What do you think would be worse than that?

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              Middle of the Road Guy January 14, 2020 at 10:17 am

              Not doing anything. That would be worse than some kind of punishment.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 10, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      As far an an eye-for-an-eye retributive sentence goes, I have to agree it’s pretty weak.

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      BikeRound January 10, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      48 months in this case is just fine–that is a long time to spend in prison. What we should be upset about are those drivers who are speeding egregiously this very day and not even receiving a speeding a ticket. There is nobody out there who is thinking, well, if I only get 48 months, I am going to speed, but if I were to get 96 months, now that is serious.

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        dwk January 12, 2020 at 7:29 am

        48 months is a long time to spend in prison????
        He drove drunk at 80 mph and killed a person just trying to pick up cans for breakfast.
        Real empathy from this crowd…..
        I come on here and hear people complain about cars and drivers and speeding and drunk driving and you want to let a 24 year old out of jail at 28 for killing a human being?
        Amazing…

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        • Avatar
          9watts January 12, 2020 at 8:23 am

          It is easy to shout about such things when one has no first hand experience or apparently knowledge of any of the elements in this situation. To make demands for retribution, vengeance, to mete out punishments is easy but hardly instructive.

          Your shouted demands fail to account for the fact that longer prison sentences do not, have not:

          Brought back the victims of these crimes;
          discouraged future crimes;
          rehabilitated the criminals;
          or, all too frequently, even locked up the right person, the person who committed the crime!

          Our long-standing system is a disaster on all these fronts, and is unfathomably expensive. Trying something different, something that is, incidentally, endorsed by victims and perpetrators alike when they have been given this option, surely is worthwhile.

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            dwk January 12, 2020 at 8:36 am

            We have an epidemic of drunk/impaired driving and hit and run driving in Portland.
            A whole lot of people are getting killed on our streets.
            Thanks for no solutions….

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            • Avatar
              9watts January 13, 2020 at 6:37 am

              You are willfully ignoring what I am saying,

              Drunk driving is a huge societal problem.
              Our system that meets out vengeful punishments (or fails to hold people account at all) is clearly not discouraging this behavior. Doubling down, choosing LONGER prison sentences, is hardly a recipe for success as I think our statistics should demonstrate.
              A different approach just might.
              If you were open to learning new ideas, engaging with others who know different things, this might go better.

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              • Avatar
                dwk January 13, 2020 at 7:23 am

                We are trying it your way now… Hardly anyone gets arrested for drunk driving and the penalties are extremely weak…
                Working well isn’t it?

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              • Avatar
                9watts January 13, 2020 at 7:37 am

                No we are most emphatically not doing it ‘my’ way. You are really good at putting words in people’s mouths.

                Failing to hold people to account is something we do a lot, especially when it comes to auto-as-dangerous-weapon;
                Meeting out excessive, harsh, vengeful punishments is also something we do in this society, just not typically with people who abuse their driving privileges, unless they are not white.

                What we are discussing here is entirely different from either of those approaches, and I think you are being deliberately obtuse in pretending not to understand this. Getting the offender and the victim to sit down, talk, hear the other side, accept responsibility, is a fresh and unfamiliar approach, and while you clearly refuse to hear that this could be meaningful to those involved not to mention to society at large, it is, and your disdain has little bearing on whether it works or not.

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                Johnny Bye Carter January 13, 2020 at 2:02 pm

                No first hand experience or knowledge of any of the elements in this situation? None? Really? You know that dwk has never walked? OK, then how about me? I’ve ridden bicycles, walked along and across roads, picked up cans for money, crashed my car into other people’s property while breaking the law, and spent time in jail. The 80’s were crazy times. I can tell you that 4 months in jail is not enough of a punishment to deter people from re-offending. When I got out of jail I went back to doing exactly the same things that put me there: driving dangerously and uninsured.

                I agree with dwk and think that 9watts is seriously missing the point.

                We’re saying that 4 years in prison is not a deterrent. Almost half of prisoners re-offend. So it seems that 9watts is OK with a dangerous person killing somebody every 4 years.

                I didn’t see dwk calling for longer prison terms, but rather a way to keep the person from re-offending. Longer prison terms are not the answer.

                I agree that we need to keep people from killing. Our current system doesn’t stop people from dying so the only thing we have control over now is to deter people from killing.

                We obviously need huge infrastructure changes to stop people from dying. But that doesn’t mean we should be nice to the killers until we get that in place.

                Before the auto industry took over the laws these incidents were processed as murders.

                If 9watts wants to supply a list of their loved ones that they’re willing to let die to traffic violence every 4 years then I will allow them their opinion that 4 years is enough time in prison, even if I don’t agree with it.

                The thought that a person who negligently killed somebody that I love will be back out on the streets able to kill again is no solace to me.

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                9watts January 13, 2020 at 4:07 pm

                “No first hand experience or knowledge of any of the elements in this situation? None? Really? You know that dwk has never walked?”

                I am talking about dwk’s understanding of the efficacy of our criminal justice system.

                “We’re saying that 4 years in prison is not a deterrent. Almost half of prisoners re-offend. So it seems that 9watts is OK with a dangerous person killing somebody every 4 years.”

                Prison is not good at rehabilitating. More prison time is unlikely to improve those odds. Victim offender reconciliation is focused on actions that the offender takes, responsibility he/she accepts. That is the part here that is new and different.

                “The thought that a person who negligently killed somebody that I love will be back out on the streets able to kill again is no solace to me.”

                Rehabilitation. You are focused on the amount of time with no account for the possibility that what is going on here is *better* at rehabilitating these folks, quite apart from months or years in prison.

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            dwk January 12, 2020 at 8:48 am

            It is even more depressing that people who are always calling people “carheads” here, apparently think that speeding and drunk driving are just minor offenses because I consider 48 months a minor sentence for murder and driving 80 mph drunk and running over someone is murder.

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    Todd Boulanger January 10, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Does Oregon (or Washington or any US city) have any post jail release transportation training for use of cycling or transit so as to reduce the typical motor vehicle recidivism by those who have had their driver privileges cancelled? Such a service would be much cheaper than such a driver returning to drive illegally (and likely without insurance) and then more jail time.

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      B. Carfree January 10, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      While such a program is a wonderful idea, it would fly in the face of Oregon’s current legal stance that driving is essential for almost everyone. This is reflected in the almost automatic granting of hardship waivers to those who have their licenses suspended. These waivers allow these demonstrably unqualified dangerous drivers to drive to work and shopping, which means driving anywhere they want since there are stores everywhere.

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    Todd Boulanger January 10, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    PS. Has there been any implementation on the then proposed safety mitigations for St Johns discussed when these incidents occurred?

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      drs January 11, 2020 at 12:37 am

      Yes there have been traffic calming measures implemented on Fessenden. Metro has set aside cash to do safety improvements on Willamette in the next five years.

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    The Dude January 10, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    It seems like a reasonably appropriate sentence to me. But I can’t help but think there’s a better way than waiting for this to happen and having one life gone and another one fundamentally altered. When it comes down to it, punishment only makes us feel better, it doesn’t accomplish most of what we need, which is to prevent this totally preventable tragedy.

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        January 10, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      THANK YOU! Too often we think in terms of punitive measures, when preventative measures are what is truly necessary for the good of everybody involved.

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    bendite January 11, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    People might think 48 months isn’t enough, but most of the time when a driver kills someone, while breaking the law, there’s no legal consequences at all.

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  • Avatar
    Daniel Ramsey January 15, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Hit & Run Daniel Ramsey II Sun, Jan 12, 6:44 PM (3 days ago)
    to amy.frazier KOIN 6 news reporter
    Amy, this is Daniel Ramsey, Daniel Ramsey II father.
    You and I talked on the phone back when you where doing a story about my sons death.
    You told me the story was to refresh the crash in peoples mind in an attempt to foster finding my sons killer. Turns out your story “A Mothers Grief” was not about Daniel or trying to foster finding the BMW driver at all. Your story was about Daniel’s mother…

    Now the driver is arrested. I told you back then that this investigation was by the “Major Crash Investigator” being botched. I know i stated one reason was that that BMW was a 6 year car and police where searching for a 2001 to 2003 BMW. Turns out it was a 1997.
    The real story now is that the Driver and his BLACK BMW was arrested for DUI in Hillsborough just an hour later. I can only assume the car was impounded.

    The incompetence of the arresting officer to put 2 and 2 together, even if not that night… but within a few days unbelievable!
    Than we add that to the incompetence of the “Major Crash Investigator”.

    Portland police spokesman has went on camera stating that this case was solved to to the due diligence of the team and that they never gave up on this investigation.
    What a load of BS. it was solved when a citizen informed authorities
    about what this guy had said… NOT “Due Diligence”.. What!
    This is absolute insanity. Any 2nd grade class project could have solved this.

    I guess I really don’t expect you to report on this HUGE FAIL by the authorities
    because it would appear that you don’t pen stories that might ruffle any police or
    local government feathers? Perhaps you should…
    Daniel Ramsey (Followup: as of 1-15-2000 I have not received a reply to the above email)

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