‘COPS’ show TV crew meets allegedly boozing driver – head on

See the startling aftermath of a wreck in which a suspected liquored-up driver plowed into an East Precinct patrol car, stopping the show, and sending them all to the hospital …

Officials say this head-on crash was so violent, it caused the suspect’s car to flip over.

Story by David F. Ashton, photos by Q MadP at www.IraqWarHeroes.org
When last season ended on March 21, 2009, the TV series COPS had aired 750 episodes. The program uses video gathered by riding along in patrol cars to depict the every-day work of law enforcement officers across the country. COPS began its 22nd season on September 12, 2009.

On September 27, a COPS TV crew was riding along with Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct afternoon shift Officer Jeffrey Ruppel as he patrolled a district that includes the Hazelwood Neighborhood and the Gateway business district.

“At 9:00 p.m., Officer Ruppel’s patrol car was hit by an oncoming Subaru Outback that had veered into the officer’s lane of traffic, in the area of SE 136th Avenue and SE Stark Street,” reported PPB spokesperson Detective Mary Wheat.

This photo makes it clear: the collision was, indeed, a violent one.

The impact from the head-on collision caused both cars to spin around; the Subaru flipped over and came to rest, upside down, on its roof, partway up the curb on Stark Street.

The Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team rushed to the scene and began an immediate investigation. “Investigators determined that the Subaru was westbound on SE Stark Street when the driver veered into the officer’s travel lane, and hit the police car head-on,” Wheat said.

Rescue workers pried the driver of the Subaru Outback from his inverted vehicle. He was later identified as 63 year-old Robert King. Officials say King is still at an area hospital recovering from serious injuries.

The front end of the PPB patrol car – they’re reinforced for police duty – crumpled in the collision like a tin can.

“The officer and both passengers were transported to an area hospital to be treated for their non- life-threatening injuries,” Wheat confirmed to East Portland News. “The officer and one of the COPS crew members were released from the hospital later that evening, but the other passenger is still in the hospital recovering from serious head injuries.”

Investigators believe that alcohol was a factor in this accident, and this investigation is ongoing, Wheat later confirmed that, “the investigators and District Attorney’s office are reviewing the case to determine any possible charges.”

SE Stark Street was closed for hours while investigators examined the scene.

We thank Q MadP of www.IraqWarHeroes.org for providing these high-quality photos at the scene!

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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