Carjacked! Career criminal accused of stealing car, and groceries, at gunpoint

See how this transvestite thug – out of prison for only a year – threatened the life of an East Portland citizen, and was captured at High Rocks …

This is the Safeway store, at SE Chavez Blvd. and SE Powell Blvd., where a thug “in drag” demanded a woman’s car, keys and purse – and also drove off with half of her week’s groceries.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
About 8:30 p.m. on May 3, a young lady had just finished her grocery shopping at the Safeway market in SE Powell Blvd. at SE Chavez Blvd (SE 39th Avenue).

“I had about half of my bags loaded into my car when I saw a woman walking up to me in the outside parking lot,” Lizzie (not her real name, we choose to protect her identity) began her terrifying story.

“I thought she was panhandling for money,” Lizzie continued, saying the individual was sporting velvety black, “mad hatter” style hat, a woman’s straight-haired, black wig, a black waist length jacket and Mardi Gras beads – and a handgun.

Carjacked by a cross-dresser
“I didn’t know what the person wanted. I really thought it was a woman – shorter than my mother,” Lizzie told us, in an exclusive interview. “That is, until he talked, and it was clearly a guy when he spoke. He told me to start my car and put my purse inside it. He got in and drove away very fast and headed south on SE 40th Avenue.”

Collecting her wits as she stood in the parking lot with half her groceries in hand, and the taillights of her 1993 light blue Eagle Vision disappearing from view, Lizzie reached for her cell phone which was, fortunately, in her pocket. “I called 9-1-1. An officer came right away, and it seems like a lot of police cars came to the area. I gave them a description of the person.”

Safeway workers came out, Lizzie said, and stayed with her until her family arrived to take her home. “I’m not sure why, but it seemed important at the time that the guy took my toilet paper – we really needed it. A Safeway person brought out a package before we left.”

About an hour later, Portland Police Bureau issued a media statement concerning the carjacked vehicle – describing the suspect as a white male, aged 30-40 – and noting his transvestite getup. In addition to asking for the public’s help, they put out an All Points Bulletin to all law enforcement agencies.

Lizzie found it hard to focus on her work during the following days, she said. “This guy was really creepy. Creepy and scary.”

Alert deputy spots stolen car
The following afternoon, at 3:18 p.m. on May 4, a Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Patrol Canine Unit was on patrol, northbound along I-205 near West Linn. He spotted expired license plates on a vehicle, and checked his mobile computer.

That inquiry brought up the stolen vehicle report.

“The deputy alerted other law enforcement that he was following a potentially-stolen vehicle,” said CCSO spokesman Detective Jim Strovink. “The officer activated his emergency overhead lights. At this point the stolen vehicle and lone male driver occupant failed to yield to the commands to stop, and a brief police pursuit was initiated on this stolen vehicle.”

The driver of the stolen car left it in gear, jumped out, and let it smash into the guardrail in at “High Rocks” in Gladstone. CCSO Photo

“At 3:21 p.m. this stolen vehicle and driver crashed into a guardrail near an isolated gated area along the Clackamas River – between Oregon City and  Gladstone – referred to as ‘High Rocks’, situated along the Oregon City side of the River,” Strovink related. “The driver of this stolen vehicle bolted from the crashed vehicle, and ran over a mass of large boulders down along the Clackamas River embankment.”

-3 A crew from KOIN Local 6 News was at the scene of the capture, setting up for a different story. This is a frame from the images their videographer shot as the alleged carjacker jumped into the Clackamas River to avoid capture. You can see it all at their website: CLICK HERE to open the KOIN Local 6 web page.

CCSO Deputies and a Gladstone Police Officer were in hot pursuit of the suspect as he approached the waters edge, with the Sheriff’s Office canine “Gunther” nipping at the suspect’s heels. The Sheriff’s Office Canine handler called the dog back from his pursuit of the suspect, when he jumped into the 50-degree water of the Clackamas River. “The CCSO Canine handler was concerned the dog would endanger the life of the suspect if the dog also entered the River in an effort to apprehend the fleeing felon,” Strovink continued.

As shown in this frame from KOIN Local 6 News coverage, the suspect is reaching for a gun in his waistband! wouldn’t quit the chase until he was hit by a Taser shot

Again in this frame from KOIN Local 6 News coverage, the CCSO Deputy grabs the gun the suspect tried to pull during this capture.

The suspect ignored commands to stop and surrender, as he scrambled in and out of the icy Clackamas River water and across boulders. “Although, once out of the water, the suspect continued in a life-threatening fashion to resist the officer’s persistent commands to comply,” Strovink said. “With good fortune, the suspect was forced to comply with the Taser – allowing them to take a suspect, believed to be armed with a handgun, into custody.”

Although the gun which witnesses – including a KOIN Local 6 News crew who videoed the capture – saw tucked into the suspect’s waistband was later determined to be an “Airsoft” replica, it appeared to be very realistic, even to the officers, Strovink reported.

This man, 40-year-old Donald Wade Evanger, is the person police suspect of carjacking a vehicle from a Safeway store on Powell Boulevard while dressed as a woman.

Upon capture, the suspect – 40-year-old Donald Wade Evanger – complained about chest pains, and was transported to Willamette Falls Hospital for a prompt medical evaluation, Strovink mentioned. “This suspect was examined by hospital staff and quickly released from this medical facility into the care of law enforcement personnel.”

Detective reveals suspect’s history
Evanger, it turns out, has an active Oregon State Parole Board violation warrant for his arrest, and records show he’s charged with two accounts of Attempt to Elude; Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; Reckless driving; and, two counts of property Hit and run. He’s being held on $100,000 bail in the Clackamas County Jail.

“In 1988, I was working on a robbery case,” Strovink told us. “The robbery was violent, the individual was struck in the head with a pipe by the suspect. It was a brutal attack. I interviewed and arrested Evanger, who I believe was 18. He was very forthcoming at the time.”

The detective noted that Evanger was released from prison in April, 2009. “The crime for which he was convicted was a brutal attack. Latest victim is very fortunate. It could have been much worse,” observed Strovink.

Although the alleged carjacker is in jail and the ordeal is over, the victim still must deal with concerns of identity theft – and replacing her totaled car.

Happy about capture, but still shaken
When she heard about Evanger’s capture, Lizzie said she was really happy. “The detective asked me to look at mug shots to identify the person. I’m very happy that they caught him.”

Her car? Lizzie reported that is in “horrible condition, probably totaled” and says she’s concerned about her missing purse and identification.

“I feel still feel I made the best decision I could,” Lizzie said. “The police say I did the right thing. You can’t tell if a gun is real, and your life isn’t worth losing, over a car.”

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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