By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Driver in fatal crash displayed telltale signs

Yamhill County sheriff’s deputy Rebecca Mayer described Jose Acevedo’s eyes as “glossy and bloodshot” at the scene of a fatal crash last Saturday on Southeast Burns Road, near Willamette Street, in the unincorporated community of Whiteson, north of Amity.

A passenger, 48-year-old Maria Naranjo of McMinnville, died when Acevedo lost control of his northbound 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier and rolled it at least three times. It ended up resting on its top in a roadside ditch.

Naranjo was pronounced dead at the scene. Acevedeo, a 42-year-old McMinnville resident, was transported by McMinnville Fire Department ambulance to the Willamette Valley Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

Medical personnel said they detected a strong odor of alcohol once they had moved Acevedo to the ambulance. At the hospital, his blood alcohol content registered .193, more than twice the .08 marking the presumptive level of intoxication in Oregon.

Acevedo was arraigned Monday afternoon before Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday on one count each of criminally negligent homicide, a Class B felony, and driving under the influence of intoxicants, a Class A misdemeanor.

Easterday ordered bail, originally set at $155,000, increased to $250,000.

The case has been assigned to Deputy District Attorney Alicia Eagan. Acevedo’s next court appearance is at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7. Easterday assigned McMinnville attorney Michael Finch to represent Acevedo.

Mayer gave this account in a probable cause affidavit:

Acevedo was sitting on the rear bumper of the car when she arrived on scene. He identified himself as the driver.

He identified the passenger as his girlfriend. He said her first name was Maria, but he couldn’t remember her last name.
It wasn’t clear whether he was intentionally withholding the name, according to Sheriff Tim Svenson.

An open beer bottle was found in the vehicle and an empty beer can in the ditch where the car left the road.

“It’s very frustrating in these cases, as this type of tragic event is very much avoidable if people would choose another option than getting behind the wheel when intoxicated,” Svenson said. “Those offending normally do not pay the ultimate price, as do their passengers.”

More than a dozen people have died on Yamhill Valley roads this year, several of them in recent months.

Two 21-year-olds died in early July in a two-vehicle crash  at the intersection of Meadowlake and Westside roads, west of Carlton.
A husband and wife died in early September when they were struck by a sport utility vehicle while riding bicycles in rural Newberg.

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