‘Damn lucky kid’: Tow truck driver healing after assault

Multnomah County

One woman arrested, one man still sought in North Portland incident

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — His father said Joshua Durrett is “a damn lucky kid” who is recovering from an assault when a woman stole a Ford F-150 and rammed her way out of a North Portland tow yard last week.

An anonymous tip led police to Nicole Penagos-Clare, who was arrested over the weekend. She now faces robbery and assault charges for the incident in the early morning hours of February 12 at 21st Century Towing. According to jail records, Penagos-Clare was in jail accused of theft the day before this crime and then released.

Surveillance video captured the truck ramming into a fence where Durrett, who was arriving for work at the time, was standing.

The force from the impact sent Durrett flying.

Earlier that night, Durrett spoke with the suspect at the tow yard and gave her the address where her car was, his father, Jack, told KOIN 6 News. “She supposedly had a car there or something. I don’t know. But as far as knowing her, no.”

Police continue to search for an older man, perhaps in his 60s or 70s, seen on the same surveillance video. They’re also looking for a white work van.

Police continue to look for this man for his role in a theft from a North Portland tow lot, February 12, 2020 (Courtesy)

Joshua Durrett suffered a broken collar bone and a concussion, with bruising on his chest and “a gouge on the side of his head where his head hit the lug nuts sticking out on the tow truck,” his father, Jack, told KOIN 6 News on Monday.

“He’s still in a lot of pain. He was actually back in the emergency room yesterday (Sunday) for a follow-up and they’ve referred him out to see an orthopedica surgeon,” Jack said. “He’s still having a lot of problems with his collar bone.”

Joshua Durrett recovers after being hit by a stolen vehicle inside the lot of 21st Century Towing in Portland where he works, Feb. 12, 2020. (Courtesy of Jack Durrett)

But Jack said his 28-year-old son is “pretty stoked” the police made an arrest in the case and that the stolen truck was recovered.

“Actually, my other son found the truck” in Northeast Portland, Jack said. “He’s a tow truck driver also and he was looking around the area and came upon it.”

His son called 911 “and they told him if there was no one in the area to hook up to it, so he hooked up to it,” Jack said.

Jack praised the Portland police for doing “a really outstanding job. They’re on top of it and I bet you here shortly there will be more arrests coming.”

Jack Durrett of 21st Century Towing in Northeast Portland said his son is “damn lucky” after being assaulted at the lot, February 17, 2020 (KOIN)

The worst part of it all for Jack was seeing Joshua’s shoe laying out in the parking lot after the assault. His son popped up after initially being hit. “It’s a good thing he did or it would probably be a different conversation we’re having.”

Though Joshua Durrett is going through some pain right now, his dad said he’s a tough kid. “A lucky kid. He’s a damn lucky kid is what he is.”

Joshua Durrett won’t be back to work for a while. Friends set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.

GoFundMe for Joshua Durrett

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