Xavier Denzel Rodriguez, age 19, was sentenced today after pleading guilty to two counts of Manslaughter in the First Degree, two counts of Assault in the Second Degree, and one count of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants for causing a traffic crash that killed two Southridge High School students and critically injured a WCSO deputy. Senior Deputy District Attorney Andrew Freeman prosecuted the case before Judge Brandon Thompson. At the sentencing hearing today, Judge Thompson noted “this was a tragedy that was utterly avoidable,” before imposing a sentence of 25 years in prison under Ballot Measure 11.
The defendant spent the night of April 26-27, 2022, driving around the Portland metro area in a Nissan Altima with four juvenile male passengers, ages 16 and 17, that were all students at Southridge High School in Beaverton. The defendant was on probation for prior offenses, had no license, was drinking 4Loco, and frequently exceeding 100mph according to GPS data.
At about 12:20am the defendant was southbound on Murray Blvd when he swerved across the center line into the path of an oncoming WCSO patrol deputy. When that deputy turned around to attempt a traffic stop the defendant fled at high speed. He approached the intersection with Tualatin Valley Highway at over 90 mph and accelerating, then intentionally ran the red light at full throttle. As he did so WCSO Deputy Michael Trotter drove into the intersection from the west with the emergency lights activated on his patrol SUV. The defendant’s Altima struck the driver’s side of the patrol vehicle at 99.4 mph, crushing the front of the Altima and caving in the side of the SUV. The force of the impact sheared off seatbelts in the Altima, and sent the patrol SUV rolling and spinning through the intersection.
Two of the defendant’s juvenile passengers were killed in the crash, and the other two suffered serious injuries. Deputy Trotter sustained critical life-threatening injuries. After first responders cut him from the SUV they rushed him to the hospital, where he underwent numerous surgeries and spent weeks in the ICU. A Life Flight helicopter took the defendant to OHSU, where laboratory testing revealed his BAC to be .18%.
The Washington County District Attorney’s Office wishes to commend all the first responders whose skill and quick thinking saved four lives that night. We further acknowledge the efforts of the Washington County Crash Analysis & Reconstruction Team (CART) and the Washington County Major Crimes Team, who collaborated to thoroughly investigate this incident. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the dangers of impaired driving, and the consequences for a person who acts with no regard for the safety of others.
Source: Washington County District Attorneys Office