People living at Salem camp notified to leave site before deadly crash

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 1:07 PM PDT
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SALEM Ore. (KPTV) – New details are coming out regarding the campsite where four people were killed when an accused drunk driver crashed into it on Sunday morning.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says the camp was on their property and was scheduled to be cleared in the coming days. ODOT says people living at the site were notified on March 17 the camp would need to be clear March 26, a day before the deadly crash.

A notice posted at the campsite near the intersection of Front Street Northeast and Highway 99E informed people living there of the impending day, citing a need to restore the rea up to transportation standards.

Just one day past that deadline, a suspected drunk driver, identified by Salem police as Enrique Rodriguez Jr., crashed into the site killing four people who lived there.

“Most people do leave the property,” says ODOT Public Information Officer Angela Beers Seydel. “In the event they don’t, we work with our community partners and law enforcement.”

ODOT officials say the site had already been cleared four times since October. They added the noticed had been posted at the campsite near Front Street Northeast, along with 15 others in Salem, for nearly two weeks.

Officials call those sites dangerous – something they say people live there know.

“Sadly, many of them are aware. This is a societal issue at this point,” says Beers Seydel. “We try and work with people, but we are the property owners and there is an expectation about what this property is set to be used for.”

All 16 campsites were scheduled to be cleaned and restored on Wednesday, March 30. ODOT officials say despite they tragedy, they plan to proceed.

Officials say any personal items left behind at those site will be taken to their maintenance office for people to claim.