Portland officer injured after stolen truck rams patrol car on Christmas Eve
The officer was in her patrol car when a stolen pickup rammed into the driver’s side of her car
By Maxine Bernstein
PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland police officer who fired at a stolen truck that rammed into her patrol car at a Southeast Portland gas station on Christmas Eve remains hospitalized with pelvic and back injuries.
The officer, who has not been identified by the Police Bureau, is a 15-year bureau veteran who works patrol out of Central Precinct.
“This officer is very lucky to be alive today,” Lt. Greg Pashley said. “We’re grateful for that of course. We’re concerned about the recovery of this officer.”
The officer fired what sounded like two shots in the direction of a stolen truck after police cars attempted to box it in at the 76 gas station at Southeast Powell and Cesar Chavez Boulevards on Christmas Eve, a gas station attendant told The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The officer was in the driver’s seat of her patrol car when a stolen white 1988 Chevrolet pickup rammed into the driver’s side of her car, turned and pushed the patrol car forward as the pickup peeled out of the gas station lot.
There appeared to be a driver and one passenger in the stolen pickup at the time, police said.
More than an hour later, police located the stolen pickup abandoned near Southeast 54th Avenue and Belmont Street. Officers, with the help of a police dog, searched the area but didn’t locate any of the occupants.
Police don’t know if anyone was struck by the officer’s gunshots because police didn’t locate the driver or anyone else who may have been riding in the stolen truck, Pashley said. No arrests have been made.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the Christmas Eve encounter “highlights the dangers inherent in the job.”
“Our investigators are working tirelessly to apprehend those involved, and I appreciate their efforts,” the chief said in a statement. “While I am saddened by their injury to our officer, I am encouraged by the medical prognosis and hope for a speedy recovery.”
Investigators planned to examine the gas station’s videotaped security footage to help identify those who were riding in the stolen truck.
According to the gas station attendant, who only gave his name as Dave, he was outside the station when a woman walked up just before 9 p.m. on Thursday, motioning that a white truck in the station’s lot belonged to her. A short time later, several police cars attempted to block in the stolen truck, the attendant said.
“The vehicle was trying to peel out,” the attendant said. “It was trying to take off and one of the cops fired.”
Portland police said they were called to the station at 8:51 p.m. on a report of a stolen vehicle. The shooting was reported at 9:08 p.m., according to dispatch records.
A witness’ video obtained by KOIN 6 captured the stolen pickup ramming the driver’s side of a marked patrol car and pushing it forward before driving out of the gas station’s lot. The driver’s door of the police car was open at the time it was rammed by the stolen truck.
Portland Detectives Jen Hertzler and Travis Law are investigating. Hertzler can be reached at Jennifer.Hertzler@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-1040 and Law at Travis.Law@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-0395.
(c)2020 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)