Ore. man empties family bank account, tosses money on interstate to ‘bless others’
People are still searching alongside Interstate 5 outside of Eugene as family members ask the public to return any cash to the state police
By Madeleine List
The Charlotte Observer
EUGENE, Ore. — Motorists rushed to scoop up cash along an Oregon interstate after bills had been thrown from a moving car, a state police lieutenant said.
Troopers became aware of the roadside cash when a concerned citizen called in just before 7:30 p.m. on April 11 to report that he’d collected $1,800 from the side of Interstate 5 outside Eugene, Oregon, State Police Lt. Jim Andrews told McClatchy News.
The caller was worried that the money had possibly been stolen or was connected to a crime, Andrews said. He also reported that others were stopping in the area to gather more cash that was strewn along the interstate.
Troopers went to the scene and got a description of the car from which the money had been thrown, Andrews said.
Investigators later found the person responsible for tossing the cash at a motel in Glenwood, about 5 miles east of Eugene off Interstate 5, he said.
The man told troopers that he threw $200,000 out of the car and was “gifting” or “blessing others,” Andrews said. He was the sole occupant of the car.
Andrews said he thought the amount might have been an “exaggeration” and the largest sum troopers are aware someone collected from the area is $1,800.
The man told troopers that the money came from a bank account he shared with family members.
Andrews said the man had a right to access the money and “distribute” it however he wanted, but choosing to throw it along the highway created a potentially dangerous situation.
“Doing such an act on a busy interstate is potential for crashes or pedestrian-type conflict with cars,” he said.
Andrews said troopers explained their concerns to the man and told him that he could potentially be charged with disorderly conduct, though they decided not to pursue charges.
Troopers also walked the area to make sure there was no cash remaining on the side of the road, but he said other motorists who’d stopped had already done a “pretty good job” of cleaning it up.
KEZI reported that the man’s family was asking any members of the public who scooped up some of the cash to return it to state police because it was “very much needed.”
Andrews said he had not heard of an official request by the family to recoup the money.
But he did say receiving a call for money being thrown onto the interstate was one of the most unique he’d received over the course of his career in law enforcement.
“It’s a very strange call,” he said. “I’ve been doing this roughly 15 years, and I cannot recall anything even remotely similar.”