“It was chaos.”
— Rich Chatman, Portland Fire Bureau
A quiet Monday afternoon in southeast Portland was shattered when a driver rampaged through the streets in what appears to be an intentional act of vehicular violence. The Portland Police Bureau says one person who was struck by the driver near SE 19th and Stark has died from their injuries and five others were seriously injured.
Many details remain unclear but at least one of the victims was on a bicycle (see photo at right). The PPB refer to the deceased person as “one of the pedestrians” so we assume they were on foot. The Oregonian reports the victim as a 70-year old woman.
According to a PPB spokesperson who addressed media at the corner of SE 18th and Stark around 3:30 pm, the first 911 calls of a hit-and-run came in around 1:00 pm near Laurelhurst Park — 1.5 miles away from where the nightmare finally ended. In several locations the suspect appeared to drive up onto the sidewalk.
It all ended just on the other side of the fence from Buckman Elementary School where a smashed-up, grey Honda Element came to rest with its bumper lying on the sidewalk. The crime scene includes a wide swath of the Laurelhurst and Buckman neighborhoods in an area bordered by SE 37th in the west, 18th in the east, Stark to the north and Belmont to the south.
Rich Chatman with the Portland Fire Bureau said “It was chaos” as the incident unfolded.
The suspect fled the scene but was surrounded by onlookers and held until police arrived to arrest them. The standoff and arrest was caught on video.
Posts from people who claimed to have seen the incident quickly showed up on Twitter. Sarah Mirk, who lives near SE 19th and Washington, shared these thoughts with BikePortland:
“At about 1:10pm, I heard someone screaming and crying outside, so I ran downstairs. My neighbor was on the front porch, really upset. The first thing I noticed was that there was a pair of headphones laying on the sidewalk on the corner. The grass along SE 19th was torn up with tire marks, it looked like a car had swerved all along the block. On the corner of 19th and Stark were two bikes, lying on the sidewalk, one missing a seat and one with a bent wheel. Next to the bikes was a fender of a car. A person was lying in the road, not moving. It was a terrifying scene. Several neighbors were already around the person in the road, calling an ambulance and offering aid. The police and paramedics arrived moments later and transported the person laying in the street. The situation is a nightmare.”
A commenter below shared that they were almost hit at SE 26th and Stark:
“This vehicle swerved to hit me on SE 26th at SE Stark. Thankfully, I was too far onto the south side of SE 26th to make a target. I was on my bike crossing SE Stark southbound and heard the accelerator as he passed stopped cars westbound Stark at the light at SE 28th. Driver continued westbound down the eastbound lane where I was (as I was crossing Stark). I had to pedal faster to avoid him. I’m glad I never ride with headphones or I may not have heard the accelerator and I’d be injured now or worse.”
This incident has some of us recalling the intentional vehicular violence in downtown Portland in May 2018. In that case, a man intentionally drove his car onto a sidewalk on the Portland State University campus and seriously injured three people.
We hope the best for everyone impacted by this horrific incident.
This is a developing story and we’ll share updates as more information comes in.
Check more coverage from The Oregonian.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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