Investigators said they believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor.
A 24-year-old man has been arrested after police alleged he killed four people when his car left the roadway and crashed into a homeless encampment in Salem, Oregon.
Enrique Rodriguez was being held without bond Monday in Salem on multiple counts of manslaughter, according to jail records online.
The episode unfolded around 2 a.m. Sunday when Rodriguez’s sports car veered off a road, jumped a curb and crashed into several tents, according to the Salem Police Department.
Two people were pronounced dead at the scene in northeast Salem and two others died after being taken to Salem Health Hospital, police said. Three other people, all believed to have lived in the homeless camp, were hospitalized with injuries.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Police said in a statement that investigators “believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor.”
A preliminary investigation by the Salem Police Traffic Crew indicates that Rodriguez was driving a two-door sports coupe northbound when the vehicle left the roadway and crashed into the camp, pinning two people under the car.
The names of those killed and injured were not immediately released.
Rodriguez was the sole occupant of the car and was also taken to hospital with injuries, police said.
He was subsequently committed to Marion County Jail on four counts of first-degree manslaughter and charges of second-degree assault, third-degree assault, and six counts of reckless endangerment.
Police said the exact number of people present at the encampment at the time of the incident was unclear and referred matters to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.
The homeless camp was on Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) property and just yards from a train track, according to ABC affiliate station KATU in Portland.
A KATU news crew reported on the same homeless camp about a week ago after nearby business owners expressed frustration with the city’s handling of the homeless problem. .