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Framed by police car

On a routine traffic stop, things get out of control and a Lake Oswego police car ends up inside a local office
by: Barb Randall, 
A Lake Oswego police car crashed Monday morning inside Framed By Design, a store located off State Street in Lake Oswego. A police officer drove his car into the store after apparently hitting his gas pedal instead of the brake.

A police officer drove his patrol car through a storefront Monday at a Lake Oswego shopping mall, narrowly missing one employee and terrifying those nearby.

Lake Oswego Police Sgt. Jerry Douglas said officer Matt Gill accidentally hit the car's gas pedal instead of the brake during a routine traffic stop around 1 p.m. at South Lake Shopping Center, 333 S. State St.

While Douglas said there were no injuries, a press release later indictated that Gill received treatment for a leg injury and has returned to full duty.

The West Linn Police Department is investigating the crash.

According to witness Carla Pope, Gill was driving slowly through the parking lot with his flashing lights on and was in the process of pulling another driver over.

Without warning, his car rapidly accelerated, turned to the right and drove over the curb and into the store, shattering the front glass window of Framed By Design and striking the store's left wall.

'It was as if he was on a track, like something out of a circus,' said Pope, an employee at the UPS Store next door. 'The noise was unbelievable, just 'Crash! Bang!''

Marita Price was fitting a customer with shoes at Foot Traffic next door when she heard 'a rumble and roar … like an earthquake' and ran for cover.

'It just kept getting louder,' she said.

Framed by Design employee Carmen Bice was alone in the store sitting at a computer when the collision occurred. The car's front bumper came to rest only inches from her desk. A vase of flowers from the office ended up on the hood of Gill's patrol car.

Pope said she called 9-1-1 when she heard Bice scream. Bice, who was uninjured, was so shaken up she was sent home.

Her husband, Brian Bice, appeared an hour later to snap photos of the scene and speak bluntly to a group of responding Lake Oswego policemen.

'He must have been chasing someone pretty important to drive through there and almost kill my wife like that,' Bice said. 'It must have been Osama bin Laden.'

The crash caused extensive damage to Framed By Design's exterior and interior, but the car had only minor scratches and was driven away.

The car's forward momentum also destroyed a concrete garbage can.

Framing samples were left scattered across the floor and a hole had been punched through the wall. Foot Traffic merchandise was also left in shambles.

'It sucks,' said Framed By Design's owner Susan Asbury. 'I have other words to describe it, but that would be the polite way.'

Asbury, whose store has occupied the space for more than 15 years, said she knows of at least five similar crashes at the property.

'This is nothing,' she said, 'at least nobody was hurt.'

LOPD spokesman Lt. Doug Treat said the officer would not be tested for drugs or alcohol 'because only property was damaged.'

'Had it involved a person and somebody was seriously injured then we would have gone through all of that,' Treat said.

The police department's insurance will cover the damages.