GLADSTONE, Ore. — A call about a possible drunk driver turned into a police chase that ended in a fiery crash in the middle of a Gladstone neighborhood Saturday night.
Police say the driver died on scene. His name has not been released.
According to a news release, the ordeal started around 9:45 p.m. when police received a call about a possible drunk driver attempting to pull people over in his own vehicle near Meldrum Bar Park.
Officers responded and pulled the vehicle over near SE McLoughlin Boulevard and Glen Echo Avenue.
They say they talked with the suspect when he drove off, heading north on nearby River Road.
Officers followed and say, less than half a mile away, the driver went off the road and hit a tree.
“[It was] a big crash,” said Kathy Wormington, who lives across the street. “I mean it shook the house.”
Neighbors, including several kids, came running.
“I thought it was like a bomb or something,” said 9-year-old Aspen Myers. The crash happened in her frontyard.
“It was very scary because it's so close to our house,” added 11-year-old Jwana Altawil, who was watching television next door.
Photos and videos, taken by neighbors, show much of the front passenger side of the truck was smashed in by the impact.
Warning: Graphic video
Neighbors say police, who had been following the driver, were on scene immediately and tried to get him out, but people watched in horror the truck caught fire.
“Honestly I can’t rest because I couldn’t help this person,” said Hawree Aljaf, who lives next door.
He said he ran toward the truck, hoping to pull the driver out, but officers told him to stay back because it wasn't safe.
Sunday morning, Aljaf said he still hadn't slept.
“I feel I'm inhumane,” he said. “I have feelings inside. I feel like I didn't help, I didn't save this person.”
The medical examiner has yet to release an official cause of death and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation.
For now, neighbors are left with horrific memories and a tree that bears the scars of a wreck that proved fatal.
“That was someone's son, brother, father, husband,” said Wormington. “It was a life. All lives are important.”