Three-neighborhood pursuit ends in spectacular smash-up

Find out why police add credence to witnesses reports speculating the driver of this Caddy ‘must have been high on drugs’ …

Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11’s crew rushes to release the driver, trapped in the wreckage of his car following a three-neighborhood chase.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A driver led Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers on a long chase at 1:22 a.m. on November 30, through residential streets of the Powellhurst-Gilbert, Lents, and Foster-Powell neighborhoods – but just why he was trying to get away was not yet clear at the time the driver crashed his 2000 Cadillac DeVille.

“Why would someone be driving like that? It makes you wonder if that guy was high on drugs,” neighbor Willie Blackwell wondered aloud to East Portland News, as he looked down the 7600 block of SE Holgate Boulevard, at where the car had popped up a curb, smashed into an unoccupied van, and come to rest in a neighbor’s yard.

“I’d just gone to bed when I heard all the police cars, squealing tires – and then a big ‘thud’ sound,” Blackwell said.

First Responders load the crash victim on a gurney for transport to a local hospital.

The situation began when officers spotted the Cadillac in outer East Portland, speeding westbound on SE Bush Street from 115th Avenue, a couple of blocks south of SE Powell Boulevard, according to PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Officers followed the vehicle, as the driver – who likely didn’t realize that SE Bush Street ends at Ed Benedict Park – suddenly discovered that his only option was to whip around the corner at SE 103rd Avenue and head south.

At SE Holgate Boulevard, the Caddy turned west and sped away.

“An officer saw the driver of the Cadillac fail to stop at a stop sign, and attempted to stop the vehicle,” Simpson said. “The driver sped away from the officer, and police pursued the vehicle westbound on Holgate.”

Firefighters and police look over the smashed Cadillac DeVille that ground to a stop, mere feet from the front windows of this neighbor’s house.

Just east of SE 82nd Avenue, near Wal-Mart, another officer successfully pitched a “Spike Strip” under the fleeing car’s tires, deflating them, as it roared westward through the intersection.
Witnesses claimed the vehicle was traveling at least 50 mph when it passed SE 76th Avenue, just before it swerved out of control, slid sideways up over a curb, hit a truck in a driveway, and then came to a stop lodged against a tree in a resident’s yard – inches away from the house.

SE Holgate Boulevard remains closed for hours while police and emergency service providers investigate this crash.

The driver was trapped in his smashed car, and was extricated by the crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11. After the driver was loaded into an ambulance, it lingered at the scene for at least 20 minutes before leaving for an area hospital, suggesting the driver was not seriously hurt.

Police later identified that fleeing driver as 35-year-old Richard Millican.

“Millican was issued a citation for Attempt to Elude in a Vehicle, Driving While Suspended, Reckless Driving, Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree, and Distribution and Possession of Methamphetamine,” Simpson remarked.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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