Crime

Deputies say he caused a 2-motorcycle crash at 104 mph. Now he’s charged with the death

Fatal Franklin County motorcycle wreck site

Franklin County sheriff's believe a man was traveling at a high rate of speed when he crashed into another motorcyclist on Glade Road early Friday morning.
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Franklin County sheriff's believe a man was traveling at a high rate of speed when he crashed into another motorcyclist on Glade Road early Friday morning.

An Othello man is accused of going 104 mph when his motorcycle slammed into the back of another motorcycle, killing the rider.

Larry C. Pence Jr., 41, has been charged in Franklin County Superior Court with vehicular homicide for the May 11 crash north of Pasco, near Eltopia.

Prosecutors waited eight months for the investigation to be done before filing the felony charge.

The delay included getting lab results from the Washington State Patrol crime lab, which has been dealing with a backlog in alcohol-related tests.

Pence was sent a summons to appear in court Jan. 22.

The 57-year-old victim, John Chacon Orozco Sr., died at the scene of the late-night collision.

Court documents show that Orozco had been waiting at the stop sign on Dogwood Road before he turned north onto Glade North Road.

Sheriff’s investigators believe Orozco noticed Pence’s approaching motorcycle before he pulled “several seconds” ahead of him, documents said.

Fatal motorcycle.jpeg
Eight months after John Chacon Orozco Sr. was killed in a late-night motorcycle crash near Eltopia, the other driver Larry C. Pence Jr. has been charged with vehicular homicide. File Tri-City Herald

However, Orozco might not have realized that Pence was driving 104 mph on a stretch of road that is posted for a maximum of 55 mph.

Pence came up from behind and smashed into Orozco’s motorcycle, court documents said.

Deputy Travis Rogers, who got the call at 12:49 a.m., said Pence’s motorcycle came to a stop farther north up the road after the collision.

Pence was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland for his own injuries.

A witness told investigators that a motorcycle passed her vehicle at “a very high rate of speed” just before she arrived at the crash site, court documents said.

Paramedics also informed deputies that Pence smelled like alcohol while they were caring for him at the scene, documents said.

While Pence’s blood was drawn at the hospital and sent to the state lab for testing, the results of how much alcohol, if any, was in his system at the time was not included in the charging documents.

His vehicular homicide charge is for allegedly driving a vehicle in a reckless manner. It does not say drinking or drugs were the cause of the crash.

Deputy Rogers got surveillance camera footage from nearby business, AG West International, and used the videos to calculate the approximate speeds of the motorcycles and determine what happened in the moments leading up the crash, documents said.

Orozco lived on a ranch in Basin City with his wife of 35 years. He had eight children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild when he died, according to his obituary with Hillcrest-Bruce Lee Memorial Center.

Orozco attended Connell High School and in recent years worked for Pavement Surface Control in Kennewick.

He enjoyed riding his motorcycle and was the honorable president of the Undertaker Motorcycle Club, the obituary said.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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