Hood to Coast runner arraigned on theft, reckless driving charges
A Hood to Coast runner who stole a portable toilet company's pickup truck and hit a race participant with it was arraigned Monday in Columbia County Circuit Court.
David Jon Blackmon, 36, of Bend, appeared in court Monday on four counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of fourth-degree assault, and one count each of unauthorized use of a vehicle, reckless driving, and failure to perform the duties of a driver after causing injury.
The charges stem from an incident in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 26, during the Hood to Coast relay race, when Blackmon reportedly stole a pickup truck
where an employee of a portable toilet company was servicing a unit in Columbia County.
He drove the truck through a nearby field, where runners Cynthia Gillespie, a veteran HTC runner, Melissa Bishop, Roger Curtain and Candace Garrett were sleeping for the evening. The stolen pickup truck struck two of the runners, Gillespie and Bishop. Bishop and the others were able to get out of the way of the truck, but part of Gillespie's sleeping bag got caught in one of the truck's wheels, causing the woman to be dragged for a short distance, until the truck stopped and came to rest on her leg.
Blackmon fled, but was caught and apprehended shortly afterward by sheriff's deputies and a K9 unit from Beaverton.
Arresting deputies initially suspected Blackmon of being under the influence at the time of the incident, but prosecutors never filed DUII charges.
Gillespie was taken to a hospital and was later released, but she is still recovering from her injuries, she told the Spotlight's news partner, KOIN 6 News.
"I hope he gets help and realizes how serious that was and that never can possibly happen to anyone again," Gillespie told KOIN.
Gillespie says she's been participating in HTC for decades and she's "all signed up" for the next event, noting this year's incident won't stop her from taking part again.
In a statement after the truck theft and attack, HTC officials said Blackmon, who was registered with his employer's team, Lorentz Brunn Construction, is barred from participating in future HTC relay races, along with the construction company.
Before his arrest on Aug. 26, Blackmon was arrested the month prior in Deschutes County for DUII.
Blackmon is now living in Portland and is ordered to
appear back in court next month.