PORTLAND — A Marion County sheriff’s deputy was killed in a fatal crash seven years ago, and the man believed responsible remains free.
A grand jury indicted Alfredo De Jesus-Ascencio on charges of criminally negligent homicide after the head-on collision near Gervais that killed his 19-year-old passenger and Deputy Kelly Fredinburg.
De Jesus-Ascencio was critically injured, but he was out of the hospital by the time a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. Police detectives think the Woodburn man went to Mexico and remains there. The fugitive, now 27, was last believed to be in Michoacan, a western state.
With Monday marking the anniversary of the crash, investigators are asking the public for tips on the fugitive’s whereabouts. The Oregon Officer Reward Fund and Crime Stoppers are offering $21,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Fredinburg, 33, was heading to an emergency call June 16, 2007, when his patrol car was struck by a Ford Crown Victoria that was traveling in the opposite direction and crossed the center line. The patrol car caught fire, and Fredinburg became the first Marion County deputy to die in the line of duty.
De Jesus-Ascencio did not have drugs or alcohol in his system during the collision, and he was free to go when healthy enough to leave a Portland hospital. State police investigated the crash for more than month before giving the results to the district attorney’s office.
“I can understand why they did not arrest him at the time of the accident, because they didn’t know what the situation was at that particular point. They had to have all their information together,” Kevin Fredinburg, the deputy’s brother, said Friday. “But at this point, I believe more can be done. Right now, I believe it’s 90 percent politics.”
Donald Abar, a Marion County deputy district attorney, said in 2012 that the U.S. extradition treaty with Mexico doesn’t apply in this case. Instead, he said, Mexican authorities have agreed to try De Jesus-Ascencio under Mexican law if he’s found.
Abar is now a judge, and the deputy district attorney now assigned to the case did not return phone calls Friday.
Prosecutors have not disclosed why the driver’s actions amounted to criminally negligent homicide. Kevin Fredinburg said De Jesus-Ascencio ignored the oncoming lights and siren and went around vehicles that had pulled over.
“He will face justice, whether it’s here or there,” Fredinburg said. “I guarantee you he will face justice one day before his life is over.”