Hit-and-run trucker destroys newly-rebuilt car, then flees

When you see the photos of this wreck, you’ll wonder how
the victim survived this horrendous collision …

Working swiftly, yet carefully, Portland Fire & Rescue crews first stabilize the victim from this crash and prepare him for transport to the hospital.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Just after 8:00 p.m. on April 28, Scott Stenburg was heading west – toward Portland – on SE Flavel Street. He never made it past SE 72nd Avenue, though.

We don’t know how fast the truck – described as witnesses as a full-size Ford pickup – was going when it slammed into the back of Steinberg’s Volkswagen Jetta.

The force of the impact was so great; it drove the Jetta forward into an Oldsmobile, in front of it. It came to rest facing somewhat eastbound in front of Marcus Whitman Elementary School.

“After the collision the Ford pickup fled the area,” reported police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz.

After being rammed from behind, and driven into the car ahead of it, this VW Jetta is more seriously damaged than the driver was injured.

The result was a compact car that looked more like a crumpled concertina with four flattened tires – and a missing tail section.

Within minutes, Portland Fire & Rescue crews were on scene, stabilizing Stenburg and assessing his medical condition. Although firefighters did not need to use the Hurst Tool, or “Jaws of Life”, it did take them some time to pry the doors open and remove the crash victim.

Firefighters and ambulance workers lift the victim onto a waiting gurney.

A young lady, who claimed to be the victim’s girlfriend, said that the Stenburg had just finished rebuilding the car. “But I’m not worried about the car – I’m really worried about him.”

The following day, April 29, we received a call from an insurance investigator who stated that the hit-and-run driver was located about 90 minutes after the accident. He indicated that the hit and run driver had been involved in other traffic related incidents.

34-year-old Jody Marshall Smith (a photo from 2002) was charged with one count of Felony Hit and Run, police say.

Sgt. Schmautz confirmed that police did find the driver they suspect caused the accident. “While conducting follow-up investigation, officers identified the driver of the pickup as 34-year-old [Mr.] Jody Marshall Smith. Smith was charged with one count of Felony Hit and Run.”

Although Steinberg was transported to the hospital for observation, Schmautz added that there were no serious injuries resulting from the collision.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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