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McLoughlin crash: Tipsy driver was way off course

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - While firefighters inspect the wrecked Subaru Impreza that caused the crash, police officers compare notes about the accident. Milwaukie resident Renee Renn was driving northbound on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard just before 11 pm on Friday evening, January 24, when she glanced into her rear view mirror, and saw a troubling sight.

She was passing Westmoreland Park, and saw a vehicle approaching from behind at what she later described as “a high rate of speed”.

Before she could pull into the outside lane, just north of the Bybee Bridge, Renn’s silver four-door 2002 Hyundai Elantra was struck from behind.

The impact was so violent that it spun her car 180 degrees; it slid to a stop along the east curb lane, facing southbound.

Fortunately, neither Renn nor her passengers required medical attention; her vehicle looked to be in remarkably good condition under the circumstances.

However, according to court documents, the situation was very different for the silver four-door 2006 Subaru Impreza that Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Traffic Division Major Crash Team investigators say caused the collision.

After smashing into the back of Renn’s car, the Subaru ran head-on into a streetlight pole and sheared it off, and then caromed off a tree – severely deforming the passenger’s side of the car, which came to rest on the edge of the highway in the middle of what officers described as a “substantial field of debris”.

Investigators measured a 165-foot long skid mark made by the Subaru before it popped up over the curb.

23-year-old Moises Cora Jr. of Salem admitted to officers that he was the driver, and he looked to THE BEE, the only news medium at the scene, to have suffered facial injuries. The front seat passenger was trapped in the vehicle and complained of an injured arm. A second passenger, sitting behind the driver, escaped with minor injuries.

But the man in the rear passenger’s side of the car was “unresponsive” when Portland Fire & Rescue crews extricated him from the smashed car, records show.

Court documents also reveal that Cora later told investigators that he was “driving his friends from Stayton to Salem” when the accident occurred. He also admitted to drinking prior to driving, and “woke up in a ditch”. For those who don’t know, Stayton is a small community in the Cascade foothills southeast of Salem. It is unknown whether Cora reached Salem and then just kept driving north on Highway 99W, or if he took a wrong turn somewhere – but he was 45 miles north of Salem at the time of the violent crash.

With his blood alcohol content level measured at .232%, Cora was cited for Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants, and Reckless Driving; he may also face two additional charges of Criminal Mischief II. He was scheduled to appear in Multnomah County Court to face charges at 8:30 am on February 24th.