Tuesday, April 13, 2021
April 13, 2021

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Alleged hit-and-run driver pleads not guilty to 31-count indictment in Portland vehicle rampage that killed 1, injured 7

Paul Rivas, who at one time lived in Woodland, has March 2019 conviction in Clark County for second-degree voyeurism

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PORTLAND — Paul Rivas ducked out of sight as he appeared briefly Thursday morning in a Multnomah County courtroom and his lawyer entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to a 31-count indictment in the hit-and-run rampage in Southeast Portland last week that killed one woman and injured seven others.

Rivas, with only his cuffed hands visible through much of the arraignment, told his lawyer he was “feeling sick.”

His sister Emilia Rivas Martin, 67, of Salina, Kansas, connected to the hearing via a live video feed.

She called Rivas her “baby brother” and said she had driven 200 miles to connect to the court proceeding from a computer inside the library on the Wichita State University campus.

Though Martin indicated to a clerk that she would be willing to make a statement, Circuit Judge Kelly Skye told her that she wouldn’t be considering Rivas’ release. Rivas is being held without bail.

Skye said Rivas’ sister or others tied to the case could be heard at another time in the future.

Rivas’ next court date was set for March 19. He was represented by court-appointed attorney Jonathan Sarre.

The indictment charges Rivas with second-degree murder and failure to perform the duties of a driver in the Jan. 25 killing of Jean Gerich, 77, a pedestrian who was hit twice and then dragged for a block.

She died about three hours later from blunt force trauma at OHSU Hospital, according to her son and daughter.

The second-degree murder charge alleges Rivas “unlawfully and intentionally” caused Gerich’s death.

For each of the seven others who were struck and injured, the indictment charges Rivas with second-degree assault, attempted first-degree assault, attempted second-degree murder and failure to perform the duties of a driver to an injured person.

The final count of the seven-page indictment charges Rivas with resisting arrest stemming from when Officers Zachary Kenney and Matt Jacobsen tried to take him into custody after a crowd of bystanders cornered him.

Rivas is originally from Kansas, married a woman in Michigan, where he worked at one time as a design engineer for General Motors, according to a relative. They couple were married for 10 years and had a daughter before they divorced. Rivas followed his ex-wife to Washington state, where she obtained a stalking order against him.

Rivas, following his arrest, told court officials he’s been living in a fifth-wheel trailer in Oregon City for 13 years. Rivas told court officials that he receives Supplemental Security Income for a disability and has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression in the past. He claimed he was diagnosed with those mental health problems while in the Secret Service, but there’s no record he was ever in the Secret Service.

Rivas had his license suspended for a brief time after a 2013 conviction for failure to obey traffic signals and failure to provide proof of compliance. Court records show it was reinstated on Dec. 8, 2014.

He has three “failure to obey traffic device” convictions from 2007, 2011 and 2013, according to Oregon court records.

Rivas also has a March 2019 conviction in Clark County for second-degree voyeurism and was ordered then to undergo a psychosexual evaluation. He was arrested at a post office in Vancouver on Aug. 14, 2018, after he was seen trying to use his phone to film under the skirt of a woman standing in line in front of him, according to court records.

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