Man in stolen car causes New Year’s Eve Lents smashup

The New Year’s Eve celebrations were over before they began, for the drivers involved in a violent outer East Portland collision …

A wrecker prepares to tow away the stolen Toyota Prius, after its hit-and-run-away driver causes a three-vehicle crash on SE Powell Boulevard, midway between the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Traffic was moving along SE Powell Boulevard, just west of the Interstate 205 Freeway, on December 31 – New Year’s Eve – until a three-vehicle pileup shut it down at SE 92nd Avenue that evening.

The incident started when Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers were dispatched to a “Suspicious – Subject, Vehicle, or Circumstance” call at 8:25 p.m.

Officers look over the stolen Toyota Prius for evidence that might identify the person who was driving it.

“An officer was in the area looking for a stolen vehicle – when the officer observed a different vehicle, a Toyota Prius, making an illegal U-turn in front of the patrol vehicle,” PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Nathan Sheppard began.

“The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed,” Lt. Sheppard told East Portland News.

The back end of this Toyota Camry LE was destroyed after it was struck at high speed by a fleeing, stolen Toyota Prius.

“Other officers located the Toyota Prius after it crashed into a Toyota Camry LE and a Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 SUV in the intersection. After running the license plate, officers learned that this vehicle was also stolen; but the driver of the newly-discovered stolen vehicle fled the scene and is not in custody,” Lt. Sheppard reported.

Soon, eleven PPB officers had arrived – some of them controlling traffic, others searching for the hit-and-run driver of the stolen Toyota.

The front end damage of this Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 SUV, a victim in the smashup, may make it a total loss.

No injuries requiring medical transport to a local hospital were reported. However, this will be a New Year’s Eve that the drivers whose vehicles were smashed – as well as those stuck in the subsequent long lines of traffic – will likely remember for some time.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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