Alleged drunk driver kills pedestrian on Division Street

As the family of the deceased Powellhurst-Gilbert pedestrian makes funeral arrangements, see why the suspected driver is already out of jail …

After running down a pedestrian in outer East Portland, this Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan was stopped by the concrete base of a parking lot lamp.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Perhaps the driver of the late-model Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan that was hurtling westbound on SE Division Street near SE 124th on the evening of September 4 just didn’t see the man crossing the street.

While zipping past other drivers who were traveling the appropriate speed, at 8:21 p.m. the fast driver struck the man crossing the street with such force that his body flew through the air about one block; he died on impact.

SE Division Street is closed to all traffic, after a man is hit and killed while crossing the street.

The PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team van responds to conduct an investigation.

After striking the victim, the driver continued westbound until his Mercedes-Benz crashed into a concrete block supporting a parking lot light at the Jackson’s gas station at SE 122nd Avenue.

“I’m still sick, from seeing this happen; the car hit him so hard, it threw him in the air like a broken rag doll,” reported witness LaQuinda Bowen.

“I don’t think the car would have stopped, if it hadn’t run into the light pole,” Bowen told East Portland News.

A witness gives officers her testimony at the scene.

This PPB Traffic Division investigator sets out evidence markers and sprays paints a reference point on the pavement.

“A passenger in the car was not injured in the crash,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Family members say the victim, Damon Patrick Burton, kept to himself. Family provided photo

While the body of 61-year-old Damon Patrick Burton – a resident of the neighborhood – lay in the street, the offending driver sat on the curb, mere feet away from the victim, as the investigation got underway.

“According to the investigation, Burton was crossing Division Street, from south to north when he was struck by the vehicle operator, who was driving westbound on Division at a high rate of speed,” Simpson later confirmed.

This officer sets up a FARO 3D laser scanner, allowing the Major Crash Team to quickly record vast amounts of data, and bring the “virtual scene” back to the office.

The suspect, Clifford Eugene Perry Jr., was told to sit on the curb, next to his wrecked car, and not far from the body of the victim.

The driver, later identified as 40-year-old Clifford Eugene Perry Jr., was booked in to Multnomah County Detention Center on September 5 at 3:16 a.m. on charges of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII), and Reckless Driving.

After being booked on a Felony Manslaughter charge, 40-year-old Clifford Eugene Perry Jr. walked out of jail after making bail. MCDC booking photo

Perry was arraigned on September 6 in Multnomah County Court on those charges. While he will stand trial, he won’t be staying in jail till then. Perry posted $255,000 bail and was released back into the community on September 7.

Burton was the victim of Portland’s 31st fatal traffic crash in 2016.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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