A driver police were chasing ran a red light Sunday morning and smashed into a minivan, killing its lone occupant, investigators said.

The crash happened about 1:15 a.m., at the intersection of Division and Roberts in Gresham. Suspect Tyson McKay and two passengers in his vehicle were also injured, police said.

It all started when a Gresham officer spotted the car speeding, swerving, and running stop signs. The officer turned on his lights and siren, and began to chase. Moments later, Police said, while the pursuit was still on, McKay, 23, ran that red light and hit the minivan driven by 22-year old Chris Grassl.

Police also said the car McKay was driving was stolen and McKay tried to run away, but officers were able to arrest him a few blocks from the crash scene.

Police were defending their continued pursuit. "The vehicle obviously displayed some reckless behavior... and it's important for us to apprehend them... at least as safely as we can," said Gresham Police Sgt. Teddi Anderson. "Everything would point to the fact that he did everything right, [and] that he didn't do anything negligently or carelessly to apprehend the vehicle."

Chris' parents, Mike and Janet Grassl, said they don't blame police for their son's death. "Why blame the police for trying to do their job," said Mike.

Janet added, "It's not a result of the police. It's a result of the stupidity of the person behind the wheel."

The Grassls said Chris was on his way to Portland to pick up his girlfriend. They said the two were planning to get married.

They descibed Chris as a charismatic young man, who loved to sing. He was a baritone in the Sandy High School Choir.

Janet said the family was having a tough time handling with the loss, "Just trying to deal with the reality of it. You know, you keep expecting him to walk downstairs, or drive in the driveway and walk in."

Formal charges haven't yet been filed against McKay, because he spent much of the day in the hospital with minor injuries sustained in the wreck. But police said he would eventually be charged with manslaughter, assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, felony attempt to elude, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

The two passengers in McKay's car were transported to Portland-area hospitals with serious injuries, police said.