Hit-and-run crash closes SE Stark Street

Here’s why SE Stark Street was closed in the Hazelwood neighborhood last very rainy Friday night …

Law enforcement personnel from the Portland Police Bureau, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gresham Police Department converged on the Hazelwood neighborhood when a “suspicious” driver fled a deputy – and soon afterwards was involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Drenching rain was blowing sideways on Friday evening, January 26, in outer East Portland, when Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies were sent to a “Suspicious Subject, Vehicle or Circumstance” at 7:34 p.m. along SE Stark Street, near 127th Avenue.

“I heard a really big ‘crash-n-crash noise’; customers went out to look, and said a car was hit, down the street,” an area restaurant owner told East Portland News.

After being smashed smashing into another vehicle the of this busted Honda Accord takes off on foot, leaving the passenger behind.

Indeed, a gold-colored Honda Accord sedan – with massive front-end damage – had ground to a halt in the westbound lanes of SE Stark Street at 127th Avenue. The vehicle was filled with personal goods, as was the trunk which popped open during the crash. At the time it was unclear if this was the victim vehicle, or the hit-and-run car.

Quickly arriving were 17 officers from the PPB, MCSO, and Gresham Police Department (GPD) – including four Canine police dog teams, and GPD drone operators.

When queried, PPB Public Information Manager Mike Benner replied that this “wasn’t their incident”. However, reaching out to the MCSO’s Public Information Officer Deputy John Plock, provided some facts about the crash.

Police vehicles block streets, and the exits to large apartment complexes in the area.

“This took place during a joint ‘Stolen Vehicle Operation’ involving PPB, GPD, and MCSO,” Deputy Plock told East Portland News. “An MCSO deputy was behind a car that drove away suddenly, in a suspicious manner. The deputy followed the vehicle; but it accelerated away from the deputy.”

With the rain pelting down, these hearty Gresham Police Department officers guide their drones (right) over the neighborhood, looking for the fleeing hit-and-run driver.

Although losing sight of the vehicle as it sped away, the deputy continued driving in the same direction.

“As the deputy continued, he came upon the suspect vehicle which had crashed into an orange Kia Niro that suffered damage to the passenger side. The driver had already left the scene; however, one passenger in the suspect car that remained on scene,” Deputy Plock recounted.

From this PPB cruiser, one of four Canine Teams was out trying to track a hit-and-run driver in the rain.

It’s understandable that, in a downpour of rain, even with drones overhead and many officers looking with the keen noses of police dogs involved, they were still unable to track the fleeing driver.

“The driver of the victim vehicle was its only occupant; there were no serious injuries reported,” concluded Deputy Plock.

Neighbors say the perpetrating ran north along narrow, rutted, SE 126th Avenue, behind the police cars are stopped.

While snaking through streets to report this story, a neighbor told us it looked as if the hit-and-run suspect had fled north on the narrow part of SE 126th Avenue – the narrow, partially unpaved stretch, with a tree growing in the center of the street – a road blocked off by police vehicles at SE Stark and E Burnside streets.

Lights on the tow truck illuminate the rain as it falls on the crunched Honda, stalled in the middle of the street.

While the PPB hasn’t requested help from the community concerning this incident, if you do have information to help officers locate the hit and run driver, please email it to crimetips@police.portlandoregon.gov, and refer to Case No. PM24-3812 – or, call it in at 503-823-3333.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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