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Driver high on pot faces charges in NE 33rd collision

Matthew Joseph NelsonA 31-year-old man who may have been high on marijuana is being held in Multnomah County Jail on several charges after a two-vehicle collision Tuesday evening that seriously injured another driver.

Portland police said Matthew Joseph Nelson was being held on charges of second-degree assault, failure to perform the duties of a driver, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and second-degree criminal mischief. He also was held on an outstanding warrant.

Police said 31-year-old Nathaniel Drechsler was being treated at a local hospital for serious injured he sustained in the collision. His medical condition was not released.

(Police originally listed the injured driver as a woman. They corrected that mistake in an updated press release. Police also originally said the accident happened on Northeast Killingsworth Street.)

According to police, the collision happened at about 7:53 p.m., June 21, at Northeast 33rd Avenue and Emerson Street, where a 1998 Toyota Corolla driven by Drechsler collided with a 2004 Cadillac Escalade driven by Nelson.

Crash investigators said Nelson was driving north on 33rd Avenue at a high rate of speed prior to the collision. Nelson and his passenger, a 30-year-old woman, walked away from the crash, but witnesses kept an eye on them until police arrived. The passenger was interviewed and released at the scene. She was not charged in the case.

The Traffic Division's Major Crash Team is investigating the collision. Investigators believe that Nelson was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the collision.