by: , Richard J. Halley

In the end, hitting the gas may have been a very bad idea.

But a Portland driver who allegedly gunned his three-quarter ton truck at four pedestrians in a Lake Oswego parking lot is now in the Clackamas County Jail.

Turns out the joke's on him.

Richard J. Halley, 55, is accused of racing his vehicle toward four men in the parking lot of the Albertson's store at 11 S. State Street.

It happened at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, as the four men walked across the parking lot onto the sidewalk after just having lunch at the Subway.

Witnesses say Halley, who was headed toward the lot's intersection with State Street, gunned the engine of his truck about 90 feet from the pedestrians, possibly racing toward a green light. The men said they could hear the roar of the engine and scrambled to get out of the truck's path.

Halley, traveling at an estimated speed of 25 miles per hour, passed one man within inches. While the men yelled for Halley to stop, he showed his middle finger, then sped out of the parking lot and headed south on State Street.

But the eyewitnesses in this case turned out to be good ones.

All were police officers from the Lake Oswego Police Department out for lunch on a midday break. The group included Police Chief Dan Duncan, who was narrowly missed by the speeding truck.

'We were in our street clothes because we were in a training all week,' Duncan said. 'As far as this guy was concerned we were just four guys out for a stroll.'

Except they were carrying radios. The officers quickly relayed the incident to dispatchers at Lake Oswego's 9-1-1 call center. Halley was stopped minutes later by two West Linn police officers near the I-205 interchange.

He was charged with four counts of menacing, one count of reckless driving and one count of recklessly endangering. He was lodged in the Clackamas County Jail in lieu of $45,000 bail.

'I guess it was just a bad day for him,' said Duncan. 'He wasn't in the mood for pedestrians.'

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