PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The annual Grand Floral Parade in NE Portland wasn’t all sunshine and roses Saturday morning. About 20 minutes before the festivities began, police and parade officials say a man interrupted plans by driving into the parade route.
Witnesses told KOIN 6 that children had still been in the road grabbing candy when 42-year-old Sidney Sean Mecham came racing through in a pickup truck.
“I thought any minute someone was going to get hit…tons of little toddlers. Little kids were running out in the middle of the road grabbing candy and then all of a sudden, probably about two blocks down…I believe it was a gray pickup truck come barreling down the street,” Hines said. “We think he was going about 30 miles an hour. And everyone was screaming, running out to get their kids.”
An officer with the Portland Police Bureau reported seeing Mecham head into the parade route, where he “saw parade goers running out of the street and heard them screaming, trying to get his attention.” The officer followed the truck by motorcycle heading east on NE Weidler Street.
However, police say Mecham “refused to stop” and went south on Northeast MLK Jr. Boulevard, where the officer pulled up alongside the driver and told him to pull over – only to be refused again.
According to PPB, the officer tried to drive ahead of the truck to warn pedestrians, but when it seemed like Mecham would hit him, the officer drove out of the way. Before the officer could get in front of the truck to slow or stop it again, police say the man “suddenly turned left” onto Northeast Wasco Street – driving toward the families sitting at the curb.
Officials say the officer continued to follow Mecham as he ran through a barricade and nearly hit parade volunteers. The truck then left the parade route, but continued to elude police until officials say Mecham finally stopped near the intersection of Northeast 24th Avenue and Clackamas Street.
Police arrested Mecham, who now faces charges of recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct, attempt to elude, reckless driving, and hit and run (from an earlier, unrelated case). Police say they also cited Mecham for driving while suspended, failing to obey a police officer and not having insurance.
Officials say Mecham had originally come from the Northbound I-5, going around two Oregon Department of Transportation trucks that “were being used to close the ramp” on Northeast Weidler Street. According to investigators, he “had to go up into the ivy on the hill side of the ramp to make it around the trucks.”
Mecham’s truck was promptly towed.
But as concerning as this situation was, witnesses told KOIN 6 the interruption didn’t ruin the event. No injuries were reported and the show did go on, but the scare left many parade goers wondering: Why did the driver do it?
“We don’t know intentions, whether they meant to cause harm to anyone or were just confused and didn’t realize with everyone on the side of the road waving them down that they shouldn’t be there,” witness Damien Andrzejewski said.
Police ask that anyone who was in danger during this pursuit to contact Officer David Baer at David.Baer@police.portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 23-152688.