Court docs: Driver who hit bicyclist in SE Portland admitted to drinking tequila before deadly crash

Posted at 1:00 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 15:00:29-04

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    PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — The 21-year-old man who hit and killed a bicyclist in southeast Portland last month admitted to police that he consumed alcohol before the crash, according to court documents.

Nicholas Martinez was indicted Monday on charges of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving and driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII).

He was arraigned on those charges Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty.

The charges stem from a crash that occurred on June 23.

Police said Martinez struck a bicyclist with his vehicle at around 3:30 a.m. in the area of Southeast Flavel Street and Southeast 79th Avenue.

The bicyclist, identified as Lance T. Hart, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Court documents state a witness saw Martinez before the crash and believed he was drunk.

The witness then saw Martinez get into a silver Lexus at the 7-Eleven at Southeast 82nd and Southeast Flavel and leave the parking lot in an “aggressive manner at a high-rate of speed,” according to court documents.

Seconds later, the witness heard a crash and went to the scene, where he confirmed it was the same car and Martinez was the driver.

Martinez remained at the scene and was contacted by officers who, according to court documents, noticed an odor of alcohol coming from Martinez’s mouth as he spoke. Court documents state he also had a “slurry raspy speech and watery eyes.”

According to court documents, Martinez told an officer that he was “drinking Sprite and tequila most of the day with his friend and had never drank tequila before.”

Court documents say Martinez told officers he was going about 30 to 40 miles per hour and was looking down to take a bite of a taquito, when he looked up and saw a “person with a bicycle in the middle of the road.” Martinez said he applied the brakes, but could not stop.

Martinez submitted to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test at the scene and the officer believed he was “impaired to a noticeable and perceptible degree,” according to court documents.

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