Police identify four killed in homeless encampment crash Sunday

A tree in a landscaped strip on Northeast Front Street bears the scar from where a car crashed through a homeless camp on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Four people died. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem police on Monday afternoon identified four people who were killed when a vehicle struck a downtown roadside encampment early Sunday.

The Salem Police Department in a news release identified those in the encampment who died as:

-Jowand Beck, 24

-Luke Kagey, 21

-Joe Posada III, 54

-Rochelle Zamacona, 29

Two more people in the camp, 43-year-old Derrick Hart and 18-year-old Savaanah Miller, remain hospitalized.

Police said in a statement Sunday that they suffered life-threatening injuries from the crash. As of Monday afternoon, both were in “fair” condition at Salem Hospital, said Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman, meaning that their vitals were stable and they were conscious and alert with some complications or pain.

Derrick Hart organizes his possessions as he prepares to move them out of Marion Square Park during the eviction of a homeless encampment at the park on Thursday, Mar. 3, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Hart was among dozens who was camping at Marion Square Park before a city sweep on March 3. City leaders acknowledged in a statement ahead of the sweep that there wasn’t enough shelter space or available housing for those displaced.

Salem police said in the news release they have notified family members of all the victims except Jowand Beck, as investigators were unable to locate his family. Anyone who has a way to contact them can call the department’s traffic team at 503-588-6293.

“Sunday’s crash was such a tragic incident,” Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said in the statement. “Our department will continue working with our social service partners and supporting them in any way possible as we move forward together with our community.”

Read more about the aftermath of the crash here.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian