Nineteen-year-old Pavel Vasilyevich Krechko was driving a white Mercedes-Benz in Southeast Portland on April 14 when he rear-ended a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Instead of pulling over, prosecutors say, Krechko kept driving.
As he fled the scene, Krechko drove directly into the path of a motorcycle and collided head-on with the motorcyclist, who later died at the hospital. Police have identified the victim as 32-year-old Brandon Cody Reid, representing the 13th traffic fatality in Portland since Jan. 1.
Krechko fled that scene as well and abandoned his vehicle several blocks later, prosecutors say. Many witnesses saw the incident, and a private home security camera captured it on video. Police were able to locate Krechko.
"At first, the defendant claimed that his vehicle had been stolen a few hours earlier that same day," prosecutors say in a probable cause affidavit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court on April 15. "However, he eventually confessed to being the driver of the Mercedes-Benz and to fleeing the scene of both collisions."
Krechko has been charged with manslaughter, a hit-and-run resulting in serious injury or death, reckless driving and failure to perform duties of a driver. He is currently in custody at the Multnomah County Jail.
The fatal crash arrives amid unprecedented speeding in the Portland metro area during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left roads nearly empty as residents have sheltered in place.
The Portland Police Bureau has grown increasingly concerned with speeding in the past four weeks.
Court records show that since April 11, police have cited 182 motorists in Multnomah County for violating the speed limit. Since Saturday, police have cited another five people for driving 100-plus mph, four for speed racing on a highway and nine for reckless driving in Multnomah County.
"With the open roads, cars, motorcycles, people traveling on the highways are just tending to pick up the speed quite a bit," Portland Police Officer Bill Balzer told reporters April 7, WW previously reported. "Just because the highways are less traveled doesn't mean people can start driving faster. It's not a time that we need additional people in the hospital from car crashes."
The speeds at which people are accused of driving can be astonishing.
Earlier today, Multnomah County prosecutors charged Dennis Perryman with attempting to elude a police officer and felony possession of a firearm after Portland police pulled him over for allegedly driving 96 mph in a 45 zone on April 10.
Perryman initially stopped when pulled over, prosecutors say, but as the officer approached his vehicle, he "squealed the vehicle's tires and took off during the traffic stop." Perryman was convicted of manslaughter in 2008 for vehicular homicide, prosecutors say. He was booked in Multnomah County Jail, but has since been released, jail records show.