PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three women were seriously hurt when an SUV drove onto the sidewalk on the Portland State University campus Friday morning.
Portland police said the blue Mazda Tribute, allegeldy driven by 61-year-old Greg Porter, went up onto the sidewalk at SW 6th Avenue and SW Hall Street and struck the women around 10 a.m. Police said two of the women sustained life-threatening injuries and the other woman’s injuries were not as serious.
The victims were taken to OHSU, where they continue to receive treatment for their injuries. At 2 p.m., police said one woman is listed in critical condition, another in serious condition and the third’s family asked for no further updates to be released.
Around 12:30 p.m., police surrounded a blue Mazda Tribute in Northeast Portland and took a driver into custody. Porter faces charges of attempted murder, assault, reckless driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver.
Police have not determined why Porter allegedly drove onto the sidewalk.
In a tweet, PPB said they do not believe there is a danger to the community connected to this incident.
UPDATE: SW 6 Ave/SW Montgomery St. The blue Mazda Tribute has been located by police. Based on information learned at this time, the Police Bureau does not believe there is a danger to the community connected with this incident.— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) May 25, 2018
Sgt. Chris Burley would not speculate whether the driver intentionally struck the women but a police source told KOIN 6 that the crash was likely intentional. They suspect the driver is suffering from mental illness.
Investigators were at the scene all day Friday. SW 6th Ave was closed to all traffic between SW Montgomery Street and Southwest Harrison Street until around 6 p.m., when buses and MAX trains started running again.
The PSU campus remains open and classes are taking place as normal.
Witnesses describe terrifying scene
Witnesses on campus told KOIN 6 the scene was terrifying. One witness said he saw the women on the ground after they had been hit by the car and that one appeared very seriously injured with a tire mark on her back.
“I’m still in shock, I’m shaken…can’t believe I️ just saw that…it’s shocking and they kept going. It was a hit and run, just kept going,” witness Laurel Peoples told KOIN 6.
This student says had she left class two minutes earlier, she likely could’ve been hit, too. She’s shaken up even thinking about it #KOIN6News pic.twitter.com/yxoshVQNBL— Cole Miller (@ColeKOIN) May 25, 2018
Witness Christopher Bond was outside the Starbucks nearby when he saw the women get hit.
“I turned around and saw the other two girls get hit, I stood up and I was going to walk toward them and help them and the car came closer to me and I thought it was going to cut over and he just gunned it,” Bond said.
A viewer photo shows the SUV on the sidewalk outside Starbucks.
Kat Caputo told the Associated Press she was talking to a friend by the light-rail station when she heard a commotion and turned around. She saw two women lying on the sidewalk and another leaning against a brick wall. Others were shouting that a car had jumped the curb, struck the women and sped away.
One of the women appeared to have serious back injuries, Caputo said.
“I’m still kind of in shock. If I were two minutes later, that would have been me, or if I had just walked that normal route, that would have been me,” Caputo said. “A lot of people were crying.”
PSU officials confirmed employees and students rushed to help the victims right after they were hit.
“We are very thankful for their actions and the actions of our first responders to aid those who were injured,” a statement from PSU said.
The car involved
The Oregon license plates on the blue Mazda Tribute showed the car was registered to a man in the Beavercreek area in Clackamas County. But the man at that address told KOIN 6 News he sold the car a few months ago on Craigslist — and said his daughter goes to PSU.
The man who bought the Mazda Tribute is an auto broker in Oregon City, and he also sold the car. He told KOIN 6 News wasn’t able to identify the owner because the records were at his office (and he was not.)
But that car was found properly parked along a curb on NE Glisan near 16th, just behind Benson High School.
Officials provide statements
Police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash, has cell phone video or surveillance video from nearby businesses to contact the non-emergency number at 503.823.3333.
The Multnomah County crisis call center is also available to anyone who would like to speak to a counselor. That number is 503.988.4888.
Mayor Ted Wheeler reacted to the crash, saying on Twitter that his thoughts and prayers are with those injured.
My thoughts are with those injured in this morning’s hit-and-run. Thank you to the first responders and to those investigating. I’ve spoken with Police Chief Outlaw, Fire Chief Myers, and leadership from PSU and OHSU. We will provide more information as it becomes available.— Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) May 25, 2018
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw provided the following statement:
“I recognize the sensitivity and concerns that surround high profile incidents like the one today. Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families. Investigators are working diligently to collect the facts and maintain the integrity of the case. Information will be made available as soon as it is learned and is appropriate to do so.”
PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi released this statement:
“I want to express my concern and personal condolences to those who were injured this morning on campus. All of us are shocked and saddened by this serious incident.
Earlier today, we sent a message identifying campus support and resources for students, faculty and staff who need them. I want to take a moment, however, to thank the first responders, including staff and students, who came to the aid of those who were injured.
There is much we do not yet know about this incident, but we are working closely with the Portland Police and Portland Fire bureaus to assist in their investigation. Safety is our No. 1 concern at PSU.
I know I speak for all at Portland State when I say that our hearts are with the victims and their families as we hope for their full recovery. “