Driver arrested for hit-and-run crash; car seized as evidence - KPTV - FOX 12

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Driver arrested for hit-and-run crash; car seized as evidence

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Rodney Lopes turning himself into police. Rodney Lopes turning himself into police.
Lopes mugshot Lopes mugshot

An accused hit-and-run driver on the run from police is now behind bars. In a bizarre set of circumstances, it turns out he was found in a home a matter of feet away from where the victim lives.  

That man was later identified as Rodney Lopes, 52, he’s now in the Multnomah Jail facing felony hit-and-run charges.

Lopes is accused of hitting a cyclist on NE 13th and Wygant street Thursday night with a white dodge mini-van, and allegedly drove away from the scene.  

Fortunately, cyclist Aleah Greene, survived with minor injuries. 

Witnesses snapped a photo of the driver before he took off and say they noticed his van had temporary Delaware plates. As word spread on social media about it all, many people started looking for that van.  Including Portland resident Robert Erickson.

“I read about it on the BikePortland blog and I was angry,” said Erickson.

Erickson lives by where the crash happened, so he says he decided to go out looking for that white van Friday night.

“As I biked down 15th I looked down and saw a white van with Delaware plates, so I stopped and took a picture,” said Erickson.

Erickson then called police.  He says he didn’t realize Greene lived in the home right by where he was standing, until our FOX 12 crew told him.

“I was surprised, it’s all odd circumstances,” said Erickson.

As our FOX 12 crew told Greene about it all, she couldn’t believe it.  Soon, she too was on the phone with police, convinced that the driver who hit her was hiding out right across the street.

Before police showed up, our FOX 12 cameras noticed movement outside of the van.  Lopes was getting ready to drive off, so our camera crew confronted him about it all.

Lopes denied knowing anything about the crash, and denied being the driver responsible. He walked away from the camera, leaving his van behind.

He then walked quickly down 15th and vanished from sight.

When police arrived they canvassed the area for Lopes but couldn't find him and then gathered evidence from the white van.

Later Friday night, Lopes decided to turn himself into police.  Before being hauled off to jail he shouted out that he was “sorry.”

Greene says she wants thank the witnesses for taking photos, BikePortland for getting the word out and Erickson for noticing the van.  She says if anything good can come from this, it’s knowing that so many people out there, care. 

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