Portland Crash Kills Two, Driver and Two Passengers Fled Scene

Date: March 9, 2013
Location: Southeast 28th Place and Gladstone Street, Southeast Portland
Names: Paul Lawrence Knepper, Hazel Agnes Knepper, Benjamin Chase Arce

Two people died on the spot on Saturday when a Cadillac Escalade SUV hit a white Toyota Corolla in Southeast Portland.

The accident occurred when the SUV went through a stop sign and hit the Toyota driven by Paul Lawrence Knepper, 55, causing the Toyota to hit a utility pole. Both Knepper and his mother, Hazel Agnes Knepper, 90, were declared dead on the scene.

Three people in the SUV were seen fleeing the accident, though Police have arrested Daniel Troy Johnson, 29, on suspicion of having driven the SUV. Johnson was found soon after the crash.

Only one passenger in the SUV, Benjamin Chase Arce, 28, stayed at the scene. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Johnson faces two counts of second-degree manslaughter, a DUII, and a hit-and-run charge. Witnesses said that the SUV was coming at around 60 mph on a residential street at the time of the accident. Police continue to investigate the accident and welcome any information about the other two passengers.

We extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased.

We hope that the hit-and-run driver is held accountable. Remember, hit and run drivers can be punished in both criminal and civil cases.

According to Oregon law (ORS 811.705), drivers are required to remain at the scene if anyone is injured. If a driver does not do this, they can have criminal charges brought against them once they are found.

We encourage anyone who has witnessed a hit and run to come forward with information! You can call our office and we will ensure that your identity is protected, and the information is sent to the right person. Remember, you are helping the person who was hit and you are helping protect our streets from drivers who do not obey the laws.

Oregon wrongful death claims are allowed under ORS 30.010-30.100. But the law is much more complicated than a normal accident case. First of all, the statute of limitations (time limit on filing a claim) is different.  For most car accidents, the SOL is 2 years, but for wrongful death, the SOL is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .”  In other words, it’s not three years from the date of death; it’s three years from the date of the original injury that ultimately caused the death. And there are exceptions for certain cases. For example, if the driver was a government employee a Tort Claim must be filed within one year of the death. And if the driver was drunk, a Dram Shop notice must be filed with one year as well.

Additionally, there are limits on who can bring a wrongful death claim. The most common claimants are:

  • Spouses
  • Children (including stepchildren)
  • Parents (including stepparents)

Less common claimants include:

  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents

In a wrongful death case, you can ask for compensation for several types of damages as well.

Compensatory damages include.

  • Charges for medical services;
  • Charges for burial and memorial services;
  • Compensation that the decedent would have been entitled to for disability, pain, suffering and loss of income during the period between injury and death;
  • Compensation for “pecuniary loss” to the decedent’s estate;
  • Compensation for the loss of the decedent’s “society, companionship and services” to the decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents, and parents;

Punitive damages are allowed as well, but are rare in Oregon since the State takes 70% of punitive damages awarded. If you have lost a loved one, call a Portland wrongful death attorney for help in securing the compensation you deserve.
Portland Oregon Wrongful Death Attorneys


About Sean DuBois

Sean is a personal injury attorney in Portland, OR. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as Oregon Rising Stars for the past four years because of his dedication to justice and fair compensation for his clients. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your injury case, Sean can be reached at 503-222-4411.

Posted on March 15, 2013, in Drunk Driving, Hit and Run, Wrongful Death and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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