Date: November 26, 2009
Location: I-5 north of Salem, Oregon
Names: Eric Ryan Witt
A Rainier, Oregon, man was arrested on multiple charges, including driving while suspended, after his car crashed into three other vehicles on I-5 north of Salem, November 26, 2009, around 11:50 AM. Eric Ryan Witt, 39, attempted to elude Oregon State Police after the crash, reaching speeds of up to 107 mph before he was finally stopped.
According to an Oregon State Police news release on KEZI.com, Oregon State Police responded to a call that Witt’s car was northbound on I-5 near milepost 268 and had crashed into two cars. The witness who called troopers followed Witt’s 1995 gold Honda Accord as it exited at Woodburn, drove through parking lots, then returned to the freeway.
Based on reports, police stationed themselves near the Donald/Aurora interchange, and caught sight of Witt’s car around 12:10 PM. Witt tried to elude troopers at high rates of speed, until heavy traffic forced him to slow down to about 60 mph. Witt was forced to slow even more as he continued to flee, ending up driving less than 30 mph on the right northbound shoulder near milepost 286.
Police were finally able to force Witt to stop, and took him into custody without further incident at 12:19 PM. None of the drivers involved in the crash was injured, and there was no damage to the trooper’s patrol car. Witt’s car was slightly damaged.
Witt was held at Marion County Jail on charges of felony attempt to elude; misdemeanor hit and run; reckless driving; and recklessly endangering another person. He was also cited for multiple traffic violations, including driving while suspended.
OSP troopers deployed traffic vehicle intervention (TVI) techniques to get the fleeing suspect to pull over. TVI, sometimes known as Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT), has been used on the West Coast for two decades. The technique has been refined over the years so it does not involve ramming.
State police have asked the drivers of the other two cars involved to call OSP Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888. If you saw what happened, come forward and assist the police. This will not only help state troopers as they investigate, it will be a huge help to the drivers involved. If you have any information, even if it seems insignificant, contact Oregon State Police.
We are glad there were no immediate injuries from a crash that never should have happened. However, sometimes an injury is not apparent immediately. If you are in a crash, think you’re fine, and go home, but then develop lingering pain or other effects, see your doctor and consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.