Images from the sentencing hearing for Joel Schrantz. Top: Jenni York and her daughter Carly York hug after the hearing; Judge Eric Bloch. Bottom: defendant Joel Schrantz. (Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Joel Schrantz, the man with a long driving record who was driving on a suspended license when he failed to control his car and allowed it to slam into and kill Mitch York on the St. Johns Bridge last month, is back in custody.
After being initially arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide, Schrantz posted $2,000 bail (10 percent of total bail amount) and was set free pending trial. We confirmed with residents in his St. Johns neighborhood that he was indeed back at home. We also confirmed with the District Attorney’s office that Schrantz was under court mandate to check-in with law enforcement everyday and was not allowed to drive a car.
This past Tuesday, Schrantz was back in court to face formal charges in the case. According to Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Elisabeth Waner, the Grand Jury returned an indictment for the enhanced charge of manslaughter in the second degree (ORS 163.125). This is significant because manslaughter is a much more serious crime than criminally negligent homicide. [Read more…]
As we debate infrastructure and policy solutions that could make places like the St. Johns Bridge safer to use, we should not lose sight of the fact that what we’re dealing with here is a systemic problem.
Our system fails us because it lets dangerous people operate dangerous vehicles on dangerous roads. Joel Schrantz, the man who was unable to control his vehicle before he struck and killed Mitch York on Saturday, is just the latest in a long line of criminals who were allowed to drive when they had no business being anywhere near a steering wheel.
At least not in a civilized society.
Schrantz is a man who, according to The Oregonian, has around 30-40 previous traffic violations going back over 20 years. He was driving a vehicle that was in a bad state of repair and his license was suspended. It has been reported that “chuckled” about his poor driving record to the police officer who responded to the scene.
This man is a clear and present danger to other road users and he’s making a mockery of our obviously inadequate driving regulations. [Read more…]