Man mistaken for hit-run driver takes legal action against PPB

Multnomah County

Patrick Cunningham says police rammed his SUV with his family inside and drew their weapons

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A DoorDash delivery driver is taking legal action after he said police mistook him for a suspect in a deadly hit-and-run earlier this year.

Patrick Cunningham was delivering a pizza during his DoorDash shift on the night of February 6 when he stopped to help a pedestrian who had been hit by a driver at SE Stark and 136th. Cunningham’s kids and fiancée Jessica were with him in his SUV.

“I used to be a firefighter so I knew how to do that and I was trying to provide medical care for this person,” he said.

After emergency responders arrived, Cunningham said a paramedic told the family to move back. Since they didn’t witness the crash, they thought they could leave and continue delivering the pizza.

But several blocks later, Cunningham said Portland police pulled them over — pinning their SUV with their patrol cars and pulling out their guns.

He said he complied with every request, “from the blue lights being turned on. I complied, I was pulling over. Easing off to the right hand of the shoulder. I even turned my hazard lights on. After the police officers pretty much realized I wasn’t the one to hit that woman, everyone started apologizing. They started going up to her apologizing, offering stickers and teddy bears to the kids. One officer offered to take the food and finish the DoorDash for us, which he did do.”

Cunningham said 911 call logs show dispatch had gotten reports of a completely different vehicle — a black Dodge Durango — fleeing around the time he stopped to try to help the injured pedestrian.

“My vehicle was still on scene after the black Dodge Durango was reported as fleeing the scene,” he said. “The initial 911 did not implicate my vehicle.”

Cunningham believes reports about the Dodge were ignored or pushed aside with dispatch and police focusing on his Jeep instead.

He said the police told them at the time they’d be reimbursed for damages to the family car. But now four months later, Cunningham said his SUV still needs repairs.

“Our 4×4 is out; our suspension is horrible,” he said. “When we turn, it sounds like you are taking tin cans and cracking them together because they hit the tires.”

Cunningham has filed a tort claim, explaining it’s essentially a statement to police that they are intending to file a civil lawsuit. He wants the PPB to be held accountable and repair the family’s damaged SUV.

“The police should not be able to hit our vehicle, pull guns on me and put me in handcuffs unless they are sure that I am the person who did it,” he told KOIN 6 News. “They know they caused harm and trauma to me and my family — there’s no need to drag this out. Fix it. That’s all we ask,” he said.

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