One person died and five others were taken to hospitals after a car being driven in the street and up on sidewalks struck multiple people in Portland, Oregon, on Monday, authorities said.
The suspected driver of the silver Honda Element ran from the scene on foot and was apprehended by police after being “corralled” by people in the community, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman said. The crime scene spans dozens of blocks, police said.
“We do have information that he was in the street and up on sidewalks — but it’s very preliminary right now for me to go any further about what he was doing, what his intentions were.” police spokesman Officer Derek Carmon told reporters.
A driver struck and injured at least five people over a 20-block stretch of Southeast Portland, Ore., before crashing and fleeing, witnesses said, on Jan. 25, 2021.Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian via AP
One of the six people struck was critically injured, and that person later died, Portland Fire & Rescue said. The person who died was described as an adult. The other five were expected to recover, a fire lieutenant at the scene said.
The name of the suspected driver was not immediately released. Police said he was being processed and arrest information would be released later.
Police got calls about a hit and run near Southeast 33rd Avenue and Southeast Pine Street, which is near Laurelhurst Park, at around 1 p.m. and then got calls of more people being struck, Carmon said.
The driver hit other pedestrians and cars before crashing near Southeast Stark Street and Southeast 18th Avenue, police said, which is around a mile away.
Whether the series of crashes and pedestrian strikes was intentional — and if they were, what the motive was — is still under investigation, Carmon said.
When fire crews arrived, they were met by people pointing out where the other injured were, Lt. Rich Chatman of Portland Fire & Rescue said.
“As you can imagine, there was a lot of chaos going on,” Chatman said.
Police investigate after a driver struck and injured at least five people over a 20-block stretch of Southeast Portland, Ore., before crashing and fleeing, according to witnesses, on Jan. 25, 2021.Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian via AP
A man who helped a woman who was struck told NBC affiliate KGW that the woman told him that the driver hit her once and then came back and struck her a second time.
“That was the first time that I had thought to myself that this was an intentional thing,” the man said.
After the person who was later arrested fled on foot, people in the community kept him in place and called police, Carmon said.
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“A group of community members down the street here saw him run from the accident scene and just kind of corralled him and notified officers where he was at — kind of kept him in place until officers were able to take him into custody,” he said. “So, we’re very grateful to them for that.”
Police said they expect to release more information about what occurred as it becomes available. They are also encouraging anyone who sees debris from cars or bicycles, or who has any video, to call police.
“The crime scene is very large,” Carmon said.