PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hood to Coast runner David Blackmon of Bend has bailed out of jail, charged with DUII, stealing a truck and driving over a fellow runner during the race.
Cindy Gillespie, the woman Blackmon allegedly hit, is limping pretty badly, but otherwise okay.
Her photos from before the incident are just like thousands of other runners. They show her and her team happy, excited and exhausted through two of her three race legs.
"This is my 20th year of running Hood to Coast!" Gillespie said Monday.
It was in the middle of Columbia County, north of Vernonia, at exchange 24 in a grassy field, where everything changed. At 2 a.m. Saturday, Gillespie and hundreds of others were napping outside in sleeping bags, waiting for their team's van to arrive.
"We were just laying there talking and then all of a sudden these headlights are on us and my friend sat up and she said 'Oh my gosh, he's not stopping!' She ran, and I sat up and turned, and right as I sat up, I saw he was going to hit me," Gillespie said.
Columbia County Sheriff's deputies said Blackmon, also a runner at the exchange point, had stolen a port-o-potty service truck from the driver, was under the influence, and rammed it through the grass. Gillespie guesses he was going about 10 mph.
She was run over, and dragged underneath for a little while. "When he stopped, the front right tire rolled up on my quad and so I was pinned underneath the truck and I was screaming. I was screaming for help, I was screaming for him to drive, to get off my leg," she said.
Blackmon got out and ran into the woods where a police dog eventually captured him. Someone jumped in the truck to drive it off Gillespie's leg and she was flown to the hospital.
"They did x-rays on my leg, knees, shoulder and chest. Everything's good! I'm so thankful that we were in God's hands, I truly believe that it was a miracle," she said.
Hood to Coast rules clearly state alcohol or drinking is banned on the course, and a disqualifier. Blackmon still had one leg of the race left to run. "Having another leg to run?! I mean nobody drinks before you run, especially in that race. It's hard. But something just isn't right in his life, I can tell," Gillespie said.
Court records show Blackmon has had five speeding tickets in various parts of Oregon since 2001, was convicted of driving without a license and was arrested on another DUII in Bend July 13.
"As long as he gets help and it doesn't happen again, that's the most important thing, that he learn from this experience," Gillespie said. "He's lucky that I wasn't killed and he just needs to be more responsible for his life."
Gillespie returned to Seaside after being checked at the hospital and reunited with her team, who ultimately was disqualified. Organizers gave them a special finishing medal and free entry into the next race.
Blackmon is banned for life, and will be arraigned in Columbia County court Sept. 25.
Thousands of racers run Hood to Coast every year. Gillespie says the race organizers and volunteers do a great job of keeping people safe, and this was one bad apple.
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