Not-guilty plea in baby’s death

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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A 26-year-old Beaverton, Ore., man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a 3-month-old boy pleaded not guilty to one count of vehicular homicide Friday afternoon.

Christopher A. Roman appeared before Clark County Superior Court Judge Dan Stahnke, who set the trial date for Oct. 3. Roman remains in the Clark County Jail. Bail was set last month at $200,000.

During his first court appearance on Aug. 22, Deputy Prosecutor Mike Dodds said 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.

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 and died at the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Dodds said prior to the crash Roman was seen passing cars and swerving all over the road. Roman’s vehicle first hit a medial barrier before striking the disabled car.

The crash occurred at about 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 in a northbound lane of I-5 near the Main Street exit.

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.

Roman, who works as a machine operator in Hillsboro, Ore., was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 in San Jose, Calif., according to court documents.

Marissa Harshman: http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com; 360-735-4546.