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Surprises greet officer at head-on crash scene

Investigations are not always simple, according to the unwritten book of crashes


Police never know what they will find when they arrive at the scene of a call for police assistance.

For example, an officer was called in mid-afternoon, June 22, to the scene of a head-on crash on Bluff Road near Green Mountain Street.

Expectations

Here’s what an officer would not find unusual at this type of call:

The victim vehicle had a man and three children, and two of the kids had been taken by ambulance to a hospital for minor medical treatment.

Both vehicles, a four-door sedan and a SUV, were not in condition to be driven because of the heavy front-end damage. The two drivers, however, had only minor injuries because speeds were less than 35 mph.

According to witnesses, the sedan driver at fault – later identified as Jeffrey D. Williams, 23, of Troutdale – drifted into the oncoming lane of traffic and collided head-on with the SUV driven by the man who had three children as passengers.

Results

Now, here’s what the officer didn’t expect:

Williams spoke slowly, and often with both eyes closed, and acted oddly at other times. He failed field sobriety tests, but had no smell of alcohol and his breath test showed no alcohol in his blood.

A paramedic told the officer that Williams appeared tired, and his pupils were constricted. A professional drug evaluator from the Oregon State Police determined that Williams was under the influence of several illegal drugs.

Williams’ statement about the crash was that “his steering wheel jolted to the left and caused me to go into the northbound lane,” according to the police report. He blamed it on the left tire, even though the officer inspected the left-side tires and found them both in “average condition.”

Williams was wanted on a felony warrant from Multnomah County for possession of heroin, but Williams said the warrant was probably because he missed the last meeting of his drug treatment program.

He told the officer he was not using drugs, and denied any knowledge of the tinfoil with heroin residue in his wallet.

While taking inventory of the contents of the vehicle, the officer discovered paraphernalia and suspected residues of several illegal drugs, including a previously opened bottle of Everclear alcohol, and Williams denied that any of them were his — even though he was in a drug treatment program and on probation for drug crimes.

Epilog

Williams was arrested and taken to the Clackamas County Jail, accused of driving while impaired from drugs and reckless driving. He also was cited for having no liability insurance, having an open container of alcohol and having no vehicle registration. His bail was set at $70,555.

The victim, however, was left with two injured children and a likely-totaled SUV he had borrowed from a friend — all caused by the actions of a man without insurance.