PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ted Jones loved celebrating the holidays with his sister-in-law Dana Jones and her family, the only family he had left after the deaths of his brother and mother.
Cinco de Mayo was one of his favorite holidays. But on May 5, 2017, Ted never had the chance to celebrate. A man who overcame challenges despite a developmental disability could not outrun a speeding driver.
“It was so ironic. We probably would have seen him later that afternoon,” Dana told KOIN 6 News.
Ted had been hanging out with friends and stayed the night at a motel on SE 82nd and Flavel. Around 4:30 a.m., “I think he had gotten up early in the morning to walk across the street to the 7-Eleven to get something to eat or something like that,” she said.
Surveillance video shows the moments before he was hit by a driver in a smaller, dark-colored sedan. The driver didn’t stop, just kept going south on 82nd.
Dana said the video is “gut wrenching” to watch.
“By the time he realized and looked up and started running it was, they were going so fast there was nothing he could do.
“It just happened so fast,” Dana said. “It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that someone just left.”
Police said the car likely had extensive damage to the hood and windshield.
“Ted was not a small guy,” Dana said. “He was probably just over 300 pounds.”
Somebody has to know something, she told KOIN 6 News. “That car had to have been repaired or sitting in someone’s garage even still.”
Two years after the crime, there are still no answers. Ted’s family is frustrated, but they also take heart knowing a woman named Tamara who saw the crash stayed with Ted and held his hand.
“I was just letting him know that it’s OK, I’m here,” Tamara told KOIN 6 News the day of the crash. “You’re not alone. Everything is going to be OK. Hang in there.”
She held Jones’ hand and encouraged him to keep breathing. Tamara later learned Ted died at the hospital. He was 45.
Dana said it’s reassuring to know “that somebody was there, he wasn’t alone. It’s good to know there are good people out there still.”
She smiles when she talks about her brother-in-law, “just the nicest person in the world.”
“Ted was a grown kid. He was like one of the kids. But he loved his nieces to no end.”
He had a tough time growin up but Dana said he never lost his love for life.
“He really wasn’t able to hold a traditional job, so he spent most of the time in the community. He would volunteer at some of the soup kitchens downtown,” she said. “He primarily took care of himself. He cooked his own meals, did his own shopping, learned to pay his bills. It’s just more the maturity level, I guess.”
Ted had a brain aneurysm that triggered some medical issues, she said. “He was in a group home setting to help him take care of some things while he was recovering and getting back on his feet” at the time of his death.
But that night he stayed at a motel.
His family said they’ll never really have closure, but a tip to police and an arrest would bring some peace of mind.
“There’s really no leads and we’re at a loss,” she said. “What’s scary is that person is still out there. This could happen again. That’s scary for everybody out there.”