Driver smashes into front of 82nd Avenue store

UPDATE: Fleeing driver arrested! See why officials say it may at first have simply been an accident – becoming a crime when the woman in the battered station wagon tried to drive away …

Police rush to a convenience store on 82nd Avenue where they find the front smashed in – but no car, or driver.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It wasn’t the coffee or an energy drink that aroused of customers and employees of the Plaid Pantry store about 4:15 on January 2.

The eye-opener for those inside the store was seeing a red Ford four-door station wagon coming through the glass front of the store, located on SE 82nd Avenue at Duke Street.

The vehicle hit the store front with such impact that it continued inside, knocking the bolted-down ATM flying halfway to the back of the store. But, as the store’s video security system showed, instead of simply stopping the car, the woman at the wheel threw it in reverse and backed out.

The smashed car got only a couple of blocks away, before running into a Toyota pickup truck and another car. Photo courtesy of KOIN Local News 6

Then she sped northbound on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, as fast as car with a severely-damaged front end could drive – turned west on SE Tolman Street – and almost immediately smashed into a car and blue Toyota pickup truck.

The owner of the truck told reporters he heard the smash, and came out to find a man and woman exiting the now-battered Ford. The woman told the truck-owner that they were “going to get her insurance papers” – but then took off running.

The truck’s owner then called 9-1-1, and officers soon located the male passenger, and detained him for questioning. However, the driver slipped away from the scene and, while she has been identified, wasn’t taken into custody.

By the time the sun comes up, workers were clearing away debris, and preparing to fix the front entrance of this Plaid Pantry store.

What might originally have been a driving accident, handled by insurance companies, the odd accident became a criminal because the driver didn’t “stop and perform the duties of a driver after crashing”, police told reporters.

Although it’s reported that no one in the store was injured, employees said they couldn’t comment due to company policy.

This is one of the many large windows broken during the accident.

By mid-morning, crews were on site clearing away the debris, and installing new glass windows and doors at the store.

“You say no one was hurt?” questioned Eldridge Franklin, who came by for his morning coffee. “Looking at the damage, that’s amazing. Simply amazing!”

A worker sweeps up, as the restoration process begins.

UPDATE

19-year-old Monique Ann Cortez-Munos turns herself in to authorities.

On January 16, Police Bureau Traffic Division investigators arrested a 19-year-old Monique Ann Cortez-Munos, after she turned herself in to police at Central Precinct. “She was booked Multnomah County Jail for three counts of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run) and Reckless Driving,” Simpson said.

Multnomah County Detention Center records show that Cortez-Munos “Released on Own Recognizance” the evening of her arrest.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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