$200,000 bail set in crash that killed baby

Ore. man accused of vehicular homicide appears in court

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 22, 2011, 7:53 PM

 

A Beaverton, Ore. man accused of driving drunk and causing a Sunday night crash that killed a 3-month-old boy made his first appearance Monday morning in Clark County Superior Court.

Judge Rich Melnick set bail at $200,000 for Christopher A. Roman, 26, and appointed attorney Clark Fridley to represent him.

Arraignment was set for Sept. 2. Roman is being held in jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

Deputy Prosecutor Mike Dodds, in requesting the bail amount, told the judge that Roman was intoxicated and driving at a high speed when he lost control of his Acura and hit another Acura on the side of Interstate 5. Roman’s Acura first hit a median barrier before striking the disabled car.

The crash occurred at about 9:30 p.m. in a northbound lane near the Main Street exit.

The baby’s parents, Terra Pina, 21, and Angel Pena, 23, (authorities said their names are spelled differently) were stopped on the left shoulder to fix a flat tire, Dodds said. The infant, Gabriel, was inside the disabled car. He died at the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol.

KATU-TV reported that the family was driving back from a camping trip when the crash occurred.

Dodds said prior to the crash Roman was seen passing cars and swerving all over the road.

Pina, of Burien, the driver of the disabled car, suffered neck and back pain. Pena, of Kent, sustained a head laceration and a leg injury.

Both have been treated and released from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

A machine operator in Hillsboro, Ore., Roman was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 in San Jose, Calif., according to court documents. Despite the conviction, a family friend of Roman’s told reporters outside the courtroom that she didn’t view him as a lawbreaker.

“He’s a very good boy,” Ailan Flores said. “I just can’t believe what’s going on.”

Roman was arrested late Sunday after being treated at the hospital for several lacerations.

This is the second alleged vehicular homicide case in Clark County in less than a week.

A 21-year-old Woodland man, Tyler Peabody, is accused of driving drunk and causing an Aug. 16 crash in northern Clark County that killed a 76-year-old Vancouver resident, Roy Thorp.

Peabody will be arraigned Friday.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker.