Suspected Driver That Killed Houseless Woman, Critically Injured Another Pedestrian, Identified
Update: The deceased houseless victim has been identified as Amber Joanne Mark.
On the afternoon of Sept. 8, the driver of an older model Toyota 4-Runner, 18-year-old Anthony Rodeen, drove over a tent on Highway 99—killing one houseless woman and barely missing another man—before critically injuring another woman on the sidewalk half-a-mile away, and then being detained by bystanders further another half-a-mile away.
At 3:36 p.m., the Eugene Central Lane Communications Center received a call regarding a reckless driver who had struck a tent and hit someone further down the road.
According to initial reporting from the Register-Guard, a local store manager, Jeremy Mills, said that he “was near Prairie Road when he saw the man drive over the railroad tracks, through a ravine and then through the area with tent campers.”
Mills, who reportedly fought the driver on the ground, said the driver was laughing and had chalked it up to having a “bad day.”
Other witnesses to the driver’s actions throughout the day commented on EPD’s Facebook post with the press release.
One person wrote that they “watched the car go down through the ditch from Prairie Rd. to [Highway] 99.”
“I was right in front of this person coming against traffic,” another person wrote. “He was laughing and passed from the street to the sidewalk driving full speed between the fence and the trees.” They added that “I saw the face of evil causing destruction.”
Roughly an hour-and-a-half after the attack, at 5:15 p.m., EPD Chief Skinner held a press conference where he confirmed that one person had died, another was critically injured, and that the suspect was also taken to the police station and then to the hospital for injuries he sustained at some point.
By 2 a.m. the following morning, Rodeen’s name was posted to the comments of the Facebook post and his social media accounts do, in fact, feature the silver Toyota 4-Runner that was used.
Rodeen, who is 18 years old, “will be facing charges for Murder in the Second Degree, Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, Assault in the Second Degree, and two counts of Felony Hit & Run” according to EPD PIO Melinda McLaughlin.
This is eerily reminiscent of a vehicle rampage that occurred in Salem, Oregon a few months ago, on March 27, where Enrique Rodriguez Jr. drove through a houseless encampment, killing four and injuring at least two others. Rodriguez Jr. was arrested on manslaughter, reckless driving, and DUI charges.
A member of Stop The Sweeps-Eugene spoke to DSM and provided a brief statement in response to yesterday’s attack:
If the city hadn’t chosen criminalization of homelessness over housing, this human would likely not have died. The people on the sidewalk were not “campers” (as Skinner referred to them in the press conference). They are human beings trying to survive. They had likely been pushed all over the city with their property and vehicles stolen by the city. Over and over again. It’s the city’s systemic criminalization of and discrimination against the unhoused that forces folks to sleep in more and more dangerous places.
We anticipate the city will use this tragic loss of life to cause more harm by further criminalizing poverty and homelessness under the guise of ‘protecting the unhoused.’
A vigil is planned for Wednesday, September 14 at an undetermined location. Details will be provided through Stop The Sweeps-Eugene’s social media.