Hunt continues for SE hit-and-run killer

A man is mowed down on SE Powell Blvd; the killer car doesn’t even slow down. See why police‚ and the dead man’s family‚ are begging for your help with this case‚

Gail Firestone, mother of the man killed in Saturday night’s hit-and-run on SE Powell Blvd. at 28th Avenue, says the driver will “never have a good night’s sleep until he turns himself in.”

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
After escorting his young daughter home, a man walks north, crossing SE Powell Blvd., about 30 feet east of the crosswalk that runs between the Wendy’s and McDonald’s restaurants. It isn’t late, about 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, April 28‚ and the street is well lit.

A Caucasian male driver is at the wheel of a charcoal gray American-made car, with “spoiler” on the back, rockets westward on Powell heading toward downtown Portland.

“Mister hell-on-wheels” hits 43-year old Michael J. Tucker so hard, the pedestrian is killed on the spot. The impact cracks the car’s windshield, busts out a headlight and part of the grill‚ and leaves car paint on the victim’s body.

Instead of stopping, the driver doesn’t even slow down. Last seen, he’s careening around the corner a block east of Cleveland High School, heading north.

Little information at the scene
This scenario we’ve presented wasn’t caught on tape. Instead, it is based on what little evidence Southeast Precinct Officers and Fatal Investigators from the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division were able to gather after the deadly accident.

So far, only five witnesses have come forward; none of them say they remember the car’s license plate or any other details.

Investigators, family ask for help
On April 30, Tucker’s family members, accompanied by Traffic Division’s Sgt. Dan Costello, call a press conference at the site where he died.

“This is positively horrendous,” Costello tells us. “I’ve been a traffic supervisor for about two years. This is the first accident where we’ve had very little description on the vehicle and driver. For somebody to kill another person‚ then just continue on‚ makes me angry. We need your help.”

There is a good chance the vehicle is being hidden under a tarp or in a garage, Costello adds.

His mother’s plea
“We’re from Grant’s Pass, where Mike grew up,” begins Tucker’s mother, Gail Firestone, with a quavering voice.

“No one deserves to be struck down, and left lying in the street like an animal. If anyone knows anything about the car that hit him, please help us find the car and driver.

“[His daughter] Sky has another 80 years without her dad. We need to find this guy so he doesn’t do this to someone else.”

The mother of the man killed by the speeding driver shows us a photo Tucker took of himself.

“We need help. We have every faith in these officers. People can try to outrun the law, but they’ll be caught. I have every faith.”

Speaking to the person who killed her son, she concludes, saying, “You’ve got to know what you’ve done‚ you’ll live with it for the rest of your life. There are dozens of people who won’t have closure until you are man enough to come forward and try to explain it or take the consequences. You’ll never have a good nights’ sleep.”

Speaking directly to the driver of the car that killed her son, Firestone says, “Sky has another 80 years without her dad. We need to find this guy so he doesn’t do this to someone else.”

You can help
If you spot a vehicle matching this description, or have any information at all regarding this hit-and-run collision, contact Officer Barry Busse at (503) 823-2216 as soon as possible.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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