GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Eye witnesses called themselves “extremely fortunate” after a stolen jeep, a high-speed police chase and a near-fatal chain reaction crash became part of their Wednesday evening commute.
Debris remained strewn across Eastman Parkway late Wednesday night — a result of that chain-reaction crash.
“He hit this Blazer here, [and] tumbled, spinning, this direction,” an eye-witness told KOIN 6 News.
The suspect then ran from the scene at Eastman Parkway and Powell in Gresham. However, he was quickly arrested.
Police said a man stole a Jeep from an auto auction in Gresham, and was speeding and driving erratically. Transit officers chased the Jeep, but said they backed off because it was too dangerous.
Moments later the suspect crashed into three other vehicles, seriously injuring two people. The Jeep ended up an East Parkway embankment.
“Anywhere closer,” said Kevin Crane, whose dad was injured in the crash, “[and it] could’ve been a lot worse.”
Crane rushed to the scene after learning his father was hit. Paramedics said his dad and the other two victims will be OK.
“He said the Blazer that hit him spun him around,” Crane said.
Witness Jeanette Miller is a nurse and helped the injured. She’s thankful that she, her husband and their infant daughter didn’t get hurt.
“Basically, when I saw cops with guns drawn,” Miller said, “I stayed in the car.”
The suspect was identified Thursday as 24-year-old Matthew Dean Magistrale, a transient. He was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on counts of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, felony failure to perform the duties of a driver, felony elude, unauthorized use of a vehicle, fourth-degree assault and a Clackamas County warrant for second-degree escape.