Driver arrested after cyclist dies on St. Johns Bridge

Driver Joel Schrantz charged with criminally negligent homicide

Joel Aaron Schrantz in his booking photo on October 29, 2016. (MCSO)
Joel Aaron Schrantz in his booking photo on October 29, 2016. (MCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland man was arrested Saturday after he reportedly crashed into a bicyclist who died on the St. Johns Bridge, police said.

Mitchell T. York, 55, was critically injured after 42-year-old Joel Schrantz lost control of his car on a curve and crashed into him. York was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Portland Police vehicle on the St. Johns Bridge as police investigate a fatal crash on October 29, 2016. (KOIN)
A Portland Police vehicle on the St. Johns Bridge as police investigate a fatal crash on October 29, 2016. (KOIN)

Investigators learned the rear tires on Schrantz’s Toyota 4Runner were bald and had no traction, which he was reportedly aware of. The car also had other issues that made it unsafe to drive, according to police.

“We are going to look at the police report to find out what happened on the bridge to find out if there is anything in the design that could have changed things here,” Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson Don Hamilton said.

Hamilton says he’s not sure if an additional bike lane on the bridge could have stopped the crash from happening, but it’s something the department will look into.

The bridge is old, narrow and not up to modern bridge standards, according to Hamilton, but ODOT has taken some steps to make it safe.

“We’ve put ‘sharrows’ on some of the lanes in there to make sure that motorists know there are bicycles in the lanes,” he told KOIN 6 News.

Schrantz has a history of violations going back to 1994, with previous convictions for failing to perform the duties of a driver, causing property damage, driving with a suspended or revoked license, speeding and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

He was charged with criminally negligent homicide after Saturday’s crash.