It wasn’t a burglary. The driver claims mechanical problems; cops don’t buy his story. You won’t believe the damage that was done — even after you see our exclusive photos‚
The driver tries to explain to Portland Police officers how making a right-hand turn caused his pickup truck to end up parked half-way inside the Woodstock RadioShack store.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Everyone‚ including the driver‚ agrees on what happened late in the evening on June 17. But why a full-sized Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck ended up halfway through the Woodstock RadioShack store front window is still unclear.
Eyewitnesses, watching from Mickey Finn’s across the street, agree on what they saw: The truck was northbound on SE 44th Ave.; it accelerated and fishtailed as it turned right, heading eastbound on SE Woodstock Blvd. It kept turning and drove up the curb, across the sidewalk, popped up the four-brick-high facing, and through the plate glass window storefront.
“A guy and girl got out and started running,” said one patron. “I recognized him, I know his family. But, he walked back to the scene of the accident before the police arrived.”
Although the incident caused extensive damage to the store‚ and shook up other tenants in the building‚ no one was hurt in this crash.
Crash shakes building
When we arrive on scene, we meet Robin, owner of the Bubble Tea restaurant directly east of the RadioShack store.
“I was working late, doing paperwork in the office,” he tells us. “I heard a loud, big sound. I think ‘Something is wrong; really wrong.’ I felt the building shake. Then, I heard the next door alarm going off.”
Driver tries to explain
The driver of the truck, who police later identified as 26-year-old Andrew Rubin Garcia, has no qualms about speaking with us.
“When you drop the truck into four-wheel drive,” Garcia explains, “all of a sudden, all the front and back tires start moving at the same time. As you turn, you fishtail, because the back tires are moving. It is the only way I can explain it. I just turned right, and it fishtailed right into the building.”
The RadioShack store manager arrives to find his storefront demolished, and calls his regional manager, the insurance company, and a board-up service.
Because the truck had dropped into four-wheel drive, Garcia adds, it was easily able to climb over the bricks below the plate glass windows and drive into the store.
Portland Police Bureau SE Precinct officers can’t help but smile as passers-by use their cell phones to take photos of the wreck‚ with themselves included in the picture.
Despite claims of a mechanical malfunction, the results of a Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer’s Field Sobriety Evaluation sends this driver to the Justice Center.
A Traffic Division officer pulls up on his motorcycle. We see Garcia led through a Field Sobriety Evaluation. This officer isn’t smiling as he concludes the tests. Garcia is escorted to a patrol car and taken to the Justice Center.
As of this writing, officials have not released what charges are pending, if any, against Garcia.
¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service