Hit-and-run driver injures, kills Montavilla bakery manager

Police say they have little to go on about who struck a woman, who was taking a break from the Montavilla bakery she manages …

The Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team comes to outer East Portland to investigate a hit-and-run crash, leaving a popular neighborhood bakery’s manager critically injured.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Co-workers at Hungry Heart Bakery, one door north of SE Stark Street on SE 80th Avenue, wondered why Erin, their manager, hadn’t returned to work after her lunch break, on the afternoon of June 22.

When the worker walked north on SE 80th Avenue nearing Pine Street, all became tragically clear – the woman had been stuck down by a hit-and-run driver and left in the street to die.

An officer stands guard near the area where the woman was run down.

“With the amount of damage inflicted on the victim, it’s beyond anyone’s rational thought that the driver didn’t realize they hit and seriously injured a person,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Sgt. Erin Smith. “It’s a tragic event when someone who’s just working to earn a living nearby is so badly injured like this,” he told East Portland News.

3:14 p.m. was when the call was dispatched that brought East Precinct and Traffic Division officers to the area.

Seeing some of the victim’s personal items lying on the sidewalk near where she was struck, officers look for evidence in the nearby yard.

A block north, officers stopped a pickup truck with minor front end damage, but after close inspection, it became clear that the damage old and dust covered, and the driver was released.

An Officer Burn gathers information at the scene using the latest crash reconstruction technology, a FARO 3D Laser Scanner.

The following day PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson revealed, “The young woman critically injured has been identified as 26-year-old Erin Catherine Brenneman of Southeast Portland; she remains at a Portland hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

Police are searching for the driver that ran down Erin Brenneman, and left her to die. GoFundMe image

Coworkers of Brenneman, who had previously been the barista at Cafe au Play and managed the bakery since November, 2015, posted on their webpage:

“Our manager was struck by a hit & run driver in the Montavilla neighborhood. She was rushed to the ER with life threatening injuries, and after surgery, remains in critical condition. If you’ve been to the bakery, we’re certain her smile brightened your day; she’s truly the heart of our little shop, and we’re committed to making sure that she has the funds to recover from this devastating accident. Any help is appreciated.”

Although Brenneman was rushed to the hospital with multiple injuries, including a brain injury, her injuries proved to be insurmountable, and she died early on July 15, Button said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Phil Maynard at 503-823-2216, phillip.maynard@portlandoregon.gov.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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