Portland traffic cop hit by alleged drunk, high driver

Jessica Celeste Lambert, 26, shown in a jail booking photo after being arrested by Portland Police.
Jessica Celeste Lambert, 26, shown in a jail booking photo after being arrested by Portland Police.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A Portland police officer assigned to the bureau’s Traffic Division and Major Crash Team was involved in a rear-end crash Monday.

The crash occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m. near the intersection of Northwest Yeon Avenue and Northwest Kittridge Avenue.

Officer Erik Koppang was not seriously injured, and declined medical treatment.

“I was just driving into work,” Koppang said.

Officer Erik Koppang speaks with KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg (KOIN)
Officer Erik Koppang speaks with KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg (KOIN)
An officer assigned to the traffic division was hit in an unmarked vehicle Monday; at the request of PPB, the license plates has been covered. (KOIN)
An officer assigned to the traffic division was hit in an unmarked vehicle Monday; at the request of PPB, the license plates has been covered. (KOIN)

Koppang said as he was stopped at a red light, the driver of a blue SUV approaching from behind caught his eye.

“I continued to look into my rear view mirror, and I saw that the driver was on her cell phone right before impact.”

The collision, police said, occurred at relativity low speeds. Koppang estimated the driver’s speed anywhere from 5 to 10 miles per hour.

After the crash, and before he got out of his unmarked vehicle, Koppang said he activated the vehicle’s red and blue emergency lights. Although he couldn’t see or hear the driver’s reaction at that time, he said he guessed there was probably an “uh oh” feeling on her behalf.

“We didn’t go seeking her out today, but it happened nonetheless,” Koppang said. “It’s nice that we got her off the road.”

Another officer, who has specialized training in detecting impaired drivers, responded to conduct a crash investigation, police said.

Jessica Celeste Lambert, 26, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center shortly before 8:30 a.m. Monday on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving. Police said she was both high on drugs and under the influence of alcohol.

“That’s one of our core goals is to reduce impaired drivers,” Koppang said.

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