by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Portland Police Bureau East Precinct officers question a man who they say was trying to flee after hitting a truck, but his vehicle stalled and he was stuck at the scene. He was uninsured. Several times every day, colored indicators light up a digital map provided to news organizations by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communication showing the location of yet another hit-and-run accident. You’d be shocked just how many there are, every single day.

One such accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 12 – on S.E. 66th Avenue, between Holgate and Foster Road. And this time, there was an indication that the driver of a hit-and-run truck was still at the scene!

Indeed, in the narrow street, a black Ford SUV towing a trailer loaded with what looked like scrap metal was parked on the wrong side of the street, facing south. A parked red Dodge RAM 1500 SLT that the Ford’s driver had hit was up near the corner of S.E. Holgate Boulevard.

It appeared as if the actual damage was slight, to both vehicles.

The guilty driver didn’t stick around, trying to find the owner – but his SUV had stalled out and wouldn’t start. “I originally considered giving the guy a jump-start,” said a neighbor who witnessed the crash while painting his porch. “That is, until the police pulled up and started questioning the driver.”

While one officer questioned the driver who had reportedly smashed into the parked truck, another officer talked to THE BEE about his experience with hit-and-run accidents.

“In what I’d call a very non-scientific study,” the officer said, “the majority of hit and run drivers are not insured, which was the case with this driver. Another large percentage of hit-and-run drivers that are caught shortly after a crash are inebriated – with either alcohol or drugs. And, in very few cases, some drivers don’t realize they’ve struck something, or someone.”

Ironically, the penalties for almost any of those illegal activities are substantially less than for performing a hit-and-run. It just doesn’t make sense not to stay at the scene…but people do hit, and then run, anyway; many times every day, all over the city. So drive carefully – and defensively.

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