Suspect in hit-and-run near Gervais arrested

Suspect in hit-and-run near Gervais arrested

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by Teresa Blackman, kgw.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on August 7, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 10 at 7:48 AM

GERVAIS, Ore. – Police have arrested a suspected hit-and-run driver who fled the scene of a three-car crash east of Gervais late Monday night.

The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Eleazar Martinez-Ortiz based upon paperwork found in the Dodge Caravan left at the scene following the crash. Martinez-Ortiz was arrested at a berry farm in Molalla Thursday.

Marion County deputies said Martinez-Ortiz had a fresh cut on the bridge of his nose covered with a bandage and confessed to being the owner and driver of the van. He also admitted drinking just prior to the crash.

After the crash, Martinez told investigators he saw a woman lying on the ground, but did not stopped to help her, then ran and took off his bloody clothes and discarded them. Deputies were still seeking the identity of a possible passenger.

Martinez-Ortiz was booked into the jail on three counts of felony hit and run, two counts of assault, tampering with evidence, identity theft and possession of a forged instrument.

One of the victims, Guadalupe Santos-Montes told KGW he and his wife were helping her sister jump-start her car when all of a sudden, a minivan slammed into his body and dragged him under the vehicle.  Then, the van hit his wife and her sister.

A Toyota Corolla and Santos-Montes' Honda Civic were stopped on the side of the road when the Dodge caravan hit them from behind. Then, Santos-Montes said the driver of the van and a passenger fled the scene on foot despite his cries for help.

Police searched the area but did not find the pair. The crash occurred near the intersection of Howell Prairie Road NE and Gervais Road NE.

“Evidence from inside the van suggests that both suffered head injuries from the crash. Several open alcoholic beverage containers were also found inside the caravan,” said Don Thomson with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver of the Honda, Santos-Montes, 25, of Woodburn, was taken to Salem Hospital for serious injuries. His wife, Iris Hernandez, 21, also received serious injuries. She was transported to Oregon Health and Science University for treatment. Their 3-year old son was safely secured in a car seat and was not injured.

The driver of the Toyota, Florencia Hernandez-Bautista, 26, of Hubbard, was treated and released at Salem Hospital.

The Dodge caravan was registered to a resident of Gervais.

Anyone with information about the crash was asked to call the sheriff’s tip line at 503.540.8079.

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