East Portland neighbor sees and reports pipe bombs tossed from speeding car

UPDATE: BOMB TOSSER NABBED IN PARKROSE! Read the first-person account of the man who witnessed the police pursuit, then pointed out the potentially deadly explosive devices left behind to officers …

Police patrol cars rush to a Southeast Portland neighborhood street, after a neighbor reports that a speeding car tossed what looked like a bag of pipe bombs out of a car while fleeing from police.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After getting a whiff of what he said smelled like “burning sulfur” emanating from a plastic bag he saw tossed out the window of a car speeding past his house, Brentwood-Darlington resident Joe Reed had no desire to explore the contents of the container about 5:00 p.m. on December 16.

“I was out on my back porch, and I heard all of the sirens around the area – I didn’t pay much attention to it because we hear it all the time,” Reed told East Portland News.

After discovering a live pipe bomb just down the street, officers close off SE Flavel Drive.

“I heard a siren coming down our street,” Reed continued. “A silver Honda just goes flying west on SE Flavel Drive. It gets close to the speed bump, it slows down just a little bit. The passenger in the car throws something out the window, and I can’t see what it is.”

Walking up to the hastily discarded gallon size plastic storage bag, Reed said, he saw a metal cylinder, about six inches long and two to three inches in diameter.

Searching for additional bombs, officers carefully look along the street.

“Having worked for the TSA for eight years, I had a pretty good idea what was in that bag – a pipe bomb. And, I could smell sulfur, like somebody tried to light it.

“That’s when I backed away from it without touching it,” Reed went on.

When a police car stopped nearby, Reed said he motioned over the officer, pointed out the bag, and made his concerns about its contents known.

Neighbor Joe Reed, the man who alerted police to the first bag of bombs, shows where he found the package.

“We both moved over on the other side of the street and started talking about what I saw,” Reed said.

Within minutes, other patrol cars flooded the area, blocking off SE Flavel Drive, from SE 45th Avenue to 49th Avenue. Reed was told to go in his house and “shelter in place” while officials began their investigation.

“When [officers] knocked on the door and told me all was clear, they also said they found two pipe bombs in the bag,” Reed stated. “And, they said found two additional pipe bombs just down the street, in another bag.”

Based on his training, Reed said that, if any one of the bombs had detonated, metal shrapnel could have ripped through houses in the area, and heavily damaged vehicles. “It is scary.”

Following their primary search, officers confer about their findings.

For some time, law enforcement officers have been looking for 43-year-old Neal Allen Panschow, who they suspect has been driving the possibly-stolen silver two-door 2002 Honda Civic that Reed saw speeding past his house.

“Panschow has an active warrant from Tillamook County, and investigators believe he has been driving the vehicle for the past few days and has led police on three pursuits in Clackamas and Multnomah Counties,” revealed Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“A home-made spike strip was used [by Panschow] to elude authorities during an incident in Clackamas County,” Simpson told East Portland News.

Earlier that day, Panschow’s vehicle had been spotted in outer East Portland, and again, at 4:41 p.m., when PPB East Precinct officers spotted the car in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

“The driver was weaving across the center divider and fog line,” Simpson said, “When they ran the license plate, it came back as a suspect in an ‘assault and elude’ in Lake Oswego. And, when the driver took off from the traffic stop at SE 60th and Duke Street, the pursuit began.

Officers lost sight of the vehicle near SE 50th Avenue and Flavel Drive, Simpson confirmed, but were flagged down by Reed.

Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit team members prepare to evaluate the explosives, and decide the best way to remove them from the street.

After officers cordoned off the area, the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit (MEDU) team members carefully scooped up the devices.

“MEDU is continuing to examine the devices,” Simpson said. “All indications at this point are that they are legitimate explosive devices.”

Law enforcement officials say they’re still looking for this man, 43-year-old Neal Allen Panschow. DMV supplied image

Police are still on the lookout for Neal Allen Panschow, who Simpson describes as a white male, 5’10” tall, weighing approximately 170 pounds. The Honda Civic has an Oregon license plate: 064-CPJ.

“Based on the events surrounding this incident, Panschow should be considered armed and dangerous,” Simpson informed. “Anyone seeing Panschow or the vehicle should immediately call 9-1-1.”

About 4:00 p.m. on December 21, East Precinct officers received information that Panschow was in the area of N.E. 79th Ave. and N.E. Sandy Blvd. Officers were able to locate Panschow and arrest him.

While officers took Panschow into custody, Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit responders checked the area. “MEDU technicians, assisted by a bomb sniffing dog, swept the area and did not locate any active explosive devices,” Simpson said that afternoon.

This is how Neal Allen Panschow looked, as he was booked in to the Multnomah County Detention Center. MCDC booking photo

Panschow was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 7:51 p.m. the evening of his capture. However, his stay in the downtown Portland facility was brief. He was released and transported to Tillamook County where he will face previous charges.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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