Man convicted of killing Mitch York with his truck, boasts about high-speed car chase

    Screenshot of Schrantz’s Facebook post.

    One major reason our roads are so dangerous is because our system does not keep dangerous people from using them.

    The man who was convicted for killing Mitch York while he straddled his bicycle on the St. Johns Bridge in October 2016 was arrested again in January. He then boasted about his driving skills on his Facebook page about being in a high-speed car chase with the Portland Police Bureau.

    “So yeah any way, got into a high-speed chase 140mph [sic] with Multnomah county’s finest down division the other morning,” reads a post from Joel Schrantz posted January 23rd, 2024. “They spiked stripped me twice, that’s cheating. It used to be about if they could catch you or not, who was the better driver, not anymore.”

    It seems nothing will prevent Schrantz from wantonly dangerous driving: Not the threat of legal consequences; not admonishments from judges; not his Facebook friends (none of whom expressed concern for his post, and six of whom replied with a “Haha” emoji); not even killing an innocent person.

    Schrantz was sentenced to 42 months in prison on May 17th, 2017. In the courtroom that day prosecutors explained how he’d been driving without a valid license for 25 years and had not paid the 40 traffic citations that had piled up on his record. Just two years prior, Schrantz was convicted of hit-and-run. During that case a judge warned Schrantz, “He needed to stop driving or he was going to kill someone.”

    He didn’t stop driving. Then he killed Mitch York.

    Then on January 21st of this year, Schrantz, now 49, was caught yet again driving recklessly around innocent people. The Portland Police Bureau arrested him following the aforementioned car chase and he was slapped with five charges: attempt to elude by vehicle, reckless driving, attempt to elude on foot, escape in the third degree and intent to deliver methamphetamine.

    According to court records, Schrantz appeared in front of a judge on April 18th. But due to lack of an attorney his case was dismissed (along with 26 others). The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office has called this lack of public defenders “an urgent threat to public safety.”

    Schrantz’s case was dismissed “without prejudice” meaning the judge didn’t rule on the merits of the charges. Technically, this means he could face a court date in the future if/when an attorney can be provided for him. But with hundreds (thousands?) of cases impacted by the lack of public defenders, it’s hard to say when — or if — that would ever happen.

    In the meantime, Schrantz is still out there.

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