Portland hit-and-run took woman’s family

Portland hit-and-run took woman’s family

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 11 at 8:21 PM

PORTLAND -- The suspect in last weekend’s deadly hit-and-run crash in Southeast Portland was charged in court Monday and the victims’ lone family member said she’s devastated.

Paul Lawrence Knepper, 55, and his mother, Hazel Agnes Knepper, 90, died after that Saturday night crash near 28th Place and Gladstone Street.

Background: Deadly hit-and-run crash

Ellie Hawkins said the two were all that she had left, following her other brother’s cancer death just three weeks ago.

“I’m the only one left of the immediate family. I mean, they’re all gone,” she said. “I’ve always been, everyone says, the strong one in the family, but I feel like wilted lettuce, I really do.”

Investigators said a Cadillac SUV ran a stop sign and hit Paul Knepper’s Toyota Corolla. Both he and his mother died at the scene.

Three people in the SUV fled on foot, but 29-year-old Daniel Troy Johnson, suspected of being the driver, was later taken into custody. Johnson now faces two counts of second-degree manslaughter and other charges including DUII.

"Hes a coward. I mean, absolutely, that's very cowardly. He didn't even go over to check and see if there was anything he could do," Hawkins said. "He should be put away because he's a danger to people."

A fourth person in the SUV, who remained at the scene, was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The two others have not been found.

Along with jail time, anyone convicted in a deadly hit-and-run would lose their driver's license for five years.  If the crash resulted in injuries, but no deaths, a driver would lose their license for one year.

But the State House just passed House Bill 25-42 Monday, which would mandate that anyone convicted of a hit-and-run resulting in an injury lose their license for three years.  That bill will now move to the Oregon Senate for consideration. 

(KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.)

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