Barely 24 hours after a crash that killed an 11-year-old walking to school, suspect Garrett Bergquist appeared in court and pleaded not guilty.
Bergquist, 26, is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving after he allegedly struck and killed Luis Medina while the boy was walking to Gresham’s Dexter McCarty Middle School on Monday morning. He is due back in court at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 15.
The Gresham man appeared behind a glass window at the Multnomah County Justice Center wearing a blue-gray jail uniform. He appeared to be holding back tears when he entered the courtroom but remained stoic for the rest of the hearing. An attorney told him that he would remain in custody pending further evaluation.
Court documents say a drug test shows Bergquist was taking central nervous system depressants and narcotic pain relievers, which impaired him to the point he couldn’t safely operate a car. According to court documents, Bergquist was taking pain pills for an old leg injury, but not under a doctor’s care.
Police say Bergquist hit Luis at the intersection of Southeast Hogan and 5th streets in Gresham. According to court documents, Luis had the right of way and was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. According to witnesses, Bergquist ran a red light while driving fast down Hogan Street. Court documents say that the impact of the crash tossed Luis 80 feet, and he died at the scene. As they investigated, officers saw video that another driver had from a dashboard-mounted camera, which captured the entire incident and showed Luis’ backpack and other items being thrown as a result of the collision.
Further investigation revealed that Bergquist kept driving after the crash, then pulled over and started taking photos, police said.
Court documents did not say how fast Bergquist was driving when he hit Luis, but the area is in a school zone, and Oregon law states that the speed limit in a school zone is 20 mph.
A fundraiser set up to help Luis’ family with funeral services and expenses described Luis as a “quiet sweet boy” who loved playing with his sister and anything to do with playing in the water. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fundraiser had topped its $18,000 goal.