Topless driver steals mail truck and crashes in Wilkes

Learn about this wild outer East Portland ride, that included smashing into a TriMet bus, careening through side streets, and taking off on foot, shirtless

These officers stand by, while other officers engage in a blocks-long on-foot chase, in the Wilkes neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After a United States Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier called the 9-1-1 Center, reporting that their delivery van was stolen around noon in the Centennial neighborhood on October 3, the driver who commandeered the truck careened across outer East Portland, until crashing on a Wilkes Community Group neighborhood street.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were dispatched to the area of SE 160th Avenue and Alder Street – the street that runs behind the Su Casa Mercado and Rosewood Center – at 12:15 p.m. that afternoon, on the searching for the woman who reportedly had driven off in the truck.

During her 2.3 mile escapade, primarily north along 162nd Avenue, the reportedly-shirtless driver of the purloined van sideswiped a TriMet LIFT Paratransit Service vehicle near NE Wasco Street, causing the driver’s side mirror to whip around into the side window of the vehicle, smashing it.

The stolen mail van sideswiped this TriMet LIFT vehicle, smashing the driver’s side window.

Three people, including the driver, were aboard that TriMet minibus at the time of the crash, TriMet officials told reporters. While the passengers weren’t injured, the bus driver did seek medical assistance.

“Officers eventually located the truck, still being driven, and tried to conduct a traffic stop,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Brad Yakots.

The wildly-driven USPS truck made skid marks on the pavement – leaving neighbors agape.

Neighbor Shirley Brewster said she was standing in her front yard with her dog, along NE Freemont Street, when the mail truck zigzagged westward.

“We have the nicest [USPS mail] carrier; I was shocked to think our mailman was driving like a drunken madman,” she told East Portland News. “But after it crashed, just up the street, a partly naked gal went a-runnin’ away from the cops,” Brewster added.

After the suspect is taken into custody, a US Postal Inspector takes a closer look at the smashed van, while it awaits a tow.

“Due to the suspect’s erratic driving behavior, the mail truck flipped and crashed near NE 155 Avenue and Fremont Street,” reported Yakots. The “shirtless suspect” fled on foot, leading officers on a twelve-block foot pursuit until she was apprehended.

“Neither officers nor the suspect sustained any injuries; the adult female was transported to a local area hospital, due to her drug-induced behavior.”

Facing numerous Misdemeanor charges is 24 year-old Monique Cortez-Munos.

The suspect, later identified as 24 year-old Monique Cortez-Munos, wasn’t in the hospital for long. She was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 5:14 p.m. that afternoon on charges of:

  1. Possession of a Stolen Vehicle,
  2. Attempting to Elude a Police Officer (while driving a motor vehicle),
  3. Mail Theft,
  4. Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle,
  5. Attempting to Elude a Police Officer (on foot),
  6. Reckless Driving,
  7. Resisting Arrest,
  8. Interfering with a Police Officer,
  9. Fail to Perform Duties of a Driver (Injury Accident); and,
  10. Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver (property damage).

At her arraignment on October 4 in Multnomah County Court, Cortez-Munos wasn’t smiling as broadly as in her booking photo when she learned she’d face all of the charges for which she was arrested.

Cortez-Munos remains in housed in MCDC in lieu of $37,500 combined bail.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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