Father dragged by his own stolen car: ‘It’s not fair’


The suspect was arrested and booked on assault charges. Additional charges are pending

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A chaotic attempt to steal a car in Southeast Portland left 2 people hurt, including the car’s owner who has a weeks-long road to recovery ahead of him.

Witnesses reported seeing a man, later identified as 30-year-old Justin Jeffries, getting into a blue 1987 Chevy Caprice on Saturday evening, according to probable cause documents. The keys had been left in the ignition and the windows were down. The car was parked along a park on Southeast Holgate Boulevard, next to Grout Elementary School.

The car’s owner, Collin Phillips, was playing basketball at the park when he noticed what was happening. He ran over to try and stop his car from being stolen.

Phillips told KOIN 6 News he lunged halfway through an open window on the driver’s side but the thief drove off, dragging Phillips with him.

Phillips said the car eventually stopped after hitting a tree. Court records state the suspect, 30-year-old Justin Jeffries, got out and ran after hitting another person and an unoccupied car near the 3100 block of Southeast Holgate Boulevard.

“Everything goes blank from there,” Phillips said. “I just remember jumping in and, after that, I just remember laying in a pool of blood and I could see him looking at me before he ran off. I’ll never forget it.”

Collin Phillips’ car was stolen and crashed on SE Holgate Boulevard in Portland, Sept. 14, 2019. (Courtesy of Collin Phillips)

Officers with the PPB’s air support team found him on the rooftop of a nearby building. He allegedly told officers he got into the car and drove away when people started chasing him, then “blacked out” and, when he came to, the car was stuck so he walked away.

Phillips and the pedestrian were both taken to OHSU. The pedestrian was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released but Phillips remains in the hospital with severe injuries. He has injuries to his neck, 3 broken vertebrae, a broken arm and he’ll no longer be able to use one finger.

The father and sole provider for his family has already had one surgery. He still needs 2 more.

“I don’t even feel like I’m here. I feel like I shouldn’t be,” Phillips said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. This completely changes my life; I’m never going to be able to do things the same.”

Phillips has 4 children and another on the way, due in early October.

“I’m never going to walk the same again, I’m never going to pick up my son the same, just based on one person’s decisions,” he said. “It’s not fair.”

A GoFundMe is currently raising money to support Phillips and his family.

Justin Jeffries was arrested on charges of 2nd-degree assault, Sept. 14, 2019. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Jeffries was arrested and booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of 2nd-degree assault. His bail was set at $500,000. Additional charges are pending, including 1st-degree robbery, multiple counts of felony hit-and-run and reckless driving.

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