PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – It was a terrifying day for residents of a Southeast Portland neighborhood after a stolen box truck plowed through an intersection, hitting two people and crashing into at least three cars before the people inside took off running.
For much of the evening, PPB has combed the area in the sky with Air Support and on the ground with K9s as officers search for multiple suspects.
It was a chaotic scene Noah Kamen didn’t expect to see when he walked out the front door. With friends over, carrying boxes while moving out, he thought maybe somebody fell down the stairs when he heard a loud crash.
“I walked out and saw a car in the middle,” said Kamen, who lives nearby. “Someone was freaking out, asking us to call 911.”
Police say a stolen box truck fled police and despite spike strips, it continued quite a distance before heading down SE 26th past Stark, hitting two people and multiple cars before coming to a stop in the street.
“What it seems is that white truck came straight down this road here, blew the stop sign, hit that car there, smashed into his car, totaled the red truck,” said Kamen. “It looks like they played pinball down the street.”
The friends say police were there in a matter of seconds, but it didn’t stop multiple suspects from taking off from the stolen truck on foot, according to PPB. Aly Fridley says she ran out to the corner where the two men were hit, and while one was back up and walking after a bit, another was left severely injured.
“The other guy was definitely breathing pretty labored and definitely had some more significant injuries,” said Fridley. “He got taken away on a stretcher.”
Fridley was moving out of the neighborhood home today. Her boyfriend, Sampson Middel, owns one of the cars that was hit while parked on the street.
“I’m really glad we were all safe and it’s really unfortunate two people did get hit,” said Middel. “I have a small dog. I’m out walking her all the time. We’re moving out. We could’ve very well been loading stuff up.”
Just feet away from Central Catholic High School, Kamen, who coaches lacrosse at the school, says this could’ve had a much worse outcome, but they hope those hit will make it through.
“Thank god we didn’t have practice today because we have plenty of kids who are always parking over here. I’m glad they’re not here today,” said Kamen. “There’s always people walking around here, a lot of kids, a lot of dogs, so this is probably one of the worst neighborhoods for something like that to happen.”
In the latest update from PPB, both pedestrians were taken to the hospital and one has life-threatening injuries. Officials noted that a woman driving a vehicle struck by the van was not injured during the crash.
Officers continue to search for the suspects but are not releasing a description of them at this time.
As police investigate, SE 26th Avenue between SW Ankeny Street and SE Pine Street is closed. Additionally, SE Ash Street is shut down between SE 24th Avenue and SE 27th Avenue.