Hit-run kills Salem pedestrian; body found in car in Keizer

Crime

Armando Rodarte Jr., 26, faces manslaughter charges

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 26-year-old Salem man faces manslaughter charges after a hit-and-run crash where the victim was later found dead miles away inside the vehicle described by witnesses.

Around 2 a.m. Christmas morning, a 911 caller told police a pedestrian was hit by a car on Lancaster Drive NE near Ward Drive in east Salem. Police were told a red Honda Civic sped off after the crash, but evidence at the scene showed the victim “likely did not survive,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

About 90 minutes later, another caller told police there was a red Honda Civic with a dead person inside near Wheatland and Brooklake roads north of Keizer. Investigators confirmed the person inside the Honda was the pedestrian from the east Salem crash.

The driver of the Honda was identified as Armando Rodarte Jr., who was spotted walking on Devonshire Court NE in Salem around 6 a.m., the sheriff’s office said. He was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail.

Armando Rodarte Jr., December 28, 2021 (Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

The victim has been identified as a 16-year-old, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. The victim’s family has been notified. Because the investigation is ongoing, authorities said no further information is being released at this time.

Anyone with information in the investigation are asked to contact Marion County Detective Jessica Van Horn at 503.584.6211, or text a tip to 847411.

Rodarte was arraigned in Marion County on Tuesday for 1st-degree manslaughter, hit-and-run/injury and reckless driving.

Multiple agencies, including both Salem and Keizer police, helped the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.

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