Homicide charge dropped in deadly NE Portland crash

Officers suspect Hugo Lopez-Aguilar, 31, was under the influence of marijuana

Hugo Lopez Aguilar, 31, was arrested for a DUII, April 19 2016. (MCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When Hugo Lopez-Aguilar was arrested, the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Investigation Unit charged him with one count each of criminal negligent homicide and DUII. After the DA’s Office reviewed the case, Lopez-Aguilar was only charged with DUII.

The investigation started April 18, when the Major Crash Team responded to the intersection of Northeast 82nd and Northeast Davis around 10:30 p.m. on reports of a car versus pedestrian crash. Police say the vehicle driven by Lopez-Aguilar struck Michael Joseph McBurney.

McBurney was transported to OHSU where he passed away, according to court documents.

Police spoke with Lopez-Aguilar and learned that he had gotten off of work around 4:30 p.m. on April 18 and had smoked “a small amount of marijuana.” He then took a 3.5 hour nap. After his nap, Lopez-Aguilar drove to a convenience store at Northeast 82nd and Northeast Sandy to get some food.

As Lopez-Aguilar was driving home, he said a van suddenly stopped and the car in front of him swerved, but he was unable to avoid McBurney.

Lopez-Aguilar was given a breath test, which showed his BAC as 0.00%. A drug recognition evaluator was called to the scene and determined that Lopez-Aguilar was impaired and the impairment was due to the use of cannabis.

Witnesses told police that McBurney appeared to be jay-walking across the street.

Steven Richkind, the criminal defense attorney for Lopez-Aguilar said that McBurney ran out into traffic against a red light.

Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Shull said “we put a lot of thought into it” regarding the decision to not prosecute Lopez-Aguilar with criminal negligent homicide. Shull said he has talked with McBurney’s family to advise them on how the case is proceeding.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 503.823.3333.

Lopez-Aguilar appeared in court on Thursday where he was arraigned on one count of DUII.

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