Fleeing police in Montavilla, driver causes mayhem and injuries

Although officers weren’t actually pursuing him, see the havoc and injuries this driver caused in a horrendous crash. He tried to run away, but didn’t get far

The driver of a Toyota Prius, allegedly speeding on an outer East Portland residential street in the Montavilla neighborhood – it’s visible in the distance – failed to heed a STOP sign and crashed into cross-traffic, sending those vehicles careening into other cars.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Neighbors at home in the eastern part of the Montavilla neighborhood were jolted by the sound of a monumental vehicle crash about 1 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27, at the intersection of 86th Avenue and East Burnside Street.

“It sounded more like an explosion, than a crash,” neighbor Larry Peters reported. “The concussion was followed with the sound of scraping; it was almost indescribable,” he told East Portland News.

Occupants of these smashed vehicles were quickly extricated, and taken to area hospitals.

After being dispatched at 1:06 p.m., Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) and ambulance crews were there in minutes, helping injured the occupants of a smashed, red Subaru Outback Pzev, and also of a blue Fiat 500 that had caromed off parked cars before coming to rest on its side – passenger side down – on the east sidewalk of NE 86th Avenue.

However, the driver of a silver Toyota Prius – the person suspected of causing the wreck – was nowhere to be found.

Officers aren’t examining this car, which they believe caused the accident –they’re out looking for its runaway driver.

“I saw him run [north, along NE 86th Avenue], and duck into a neighbor’s driveway, and disappeared into the backyard,” Peters recalled.

At the crash, a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) sergeant said the Prius’ driver had been heading northbound, at a high rate of speed, on NE 86th Avenue. That driver didn’t heed the stop sign at East Burnside Street, and plowed into two other cars in the intersection.

This PPB sergeant goes to check on the search for the fleeing suspect.

The sergeant confirmed that the driver then got out and ran off – pointing to numerous officers, including several PPB K-9 Teams, in the area looking for the driver.

Starts as a wrong-way driver stop
“The incident began, moments before the crash, when an officer in the area noticed a Toyota Prius traveling in the wrong direction – driving eastbound on SE Stark Street, a westbound, one-way street,” said PPB Public Information Officer Melissa Newhard.

“The officer was able to stop the vehicle, but then the vehicle again took off; however, the officer did not pursue the Prius,” Newhard told East Portland News. Instead, the officer radioed the information to other district officers. “A minute or so later, a crash was dispatched at 86th Avenue and East Burnside Street involving the [same] vehicle.”

On NE 85th Avenue, officers – including a PPB K-9 Team – watch and wait for the suspect to make his move.

Looking into a backyard through the bushes, officers spot the suspect, but he bolts away.

By 1:33 p.m., 16 officers had arrived in the area looking for the suspect, who was seen crawling over fences, and trying to hide in back yards, not far from the accident scene. The suspect played a cat-and-mouse game until a PPB K-9 persuaded him to give up at 2:40 p.m.

The suspect, later identified as 46-year-old Marc Eugene Crawford, was taken into custody. Officers guided Crawford through the gate from the side yard where he was found, and down nine steps to the sidewalk.

After speedily fleeing officers who weren’t pursuing him after a “wrong-way driving” traffic stop – the errant driver caused an injury accident involving several cars, and then ran off and hid. 46-year-old Marc Eugene Crawford was finally taken into custody.

Soon after being taken into custody, Crawford received an on-scene medical evaluation by paramedics from PF&R Mill Park Station’s Engine 7, before being taken to a local hospital by ambulance.

“Crawford was cited, in lieu of arrest; and, an investigation into this incident continues,” informed Newhard.

The good news, Newhard added, was that there were no serious injuries due to the crash. “Two people were transported to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.” It took quite a while to investigate the crash and clean up the street, before traffic flow could resume.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News ™


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