Police encounter 3 DUII suspects in same spot on I-5, one after - KPTV - FOX 12

Police encounter 3 DUII suspects in same spot on I-5, one after crash involving patrol car

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Two Portland Police Bureau officers escaped serious injuries after a suspected drunken driver crashed into them Saturday morning.

It happened around 12:45 a.m. as the officers pulled over to check on a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 5 near Jantzen Beach.

When they approached the driver, the officers said he was obviously intoxicated to the point that he had to be taken to the hospital. A few minutes later, the officers were still on scene with one inside a patrol car and the other standing outside. That’s when investigators said another suspected drunk driver – 53-year-old Ken Neely – crashed into them, sending both officers to the hospital.

Then, just before 3:30 a.m., another officer was at the scene collecting evidence of the crash when a third suspected drunken driver nearly hit that officer, according to investigators.

Police followed 24-year-old Javier Lopez-Gaona, pulled him over and arrested him on DUII charges.

Police said this series of incidents not only illustrates the continuing threat of drinking and driving, but also the dangers patrol officers face on the roads every day.

“The fact of the matter is the officers are having to split their attention between multiple different tasks – the tasks that they responded to on the side of the road as well as on-coming vehicles”, said Sgt. Chris Burley. “And it can be extremely difficult to be able to do both of those at the same time and nearly impossible to try to get out of the way if someone is driving under the influence or isn’t paying attention.”

Both officers involved in the crash were taken to the hospital, but they suffered only minor injuries and are now recovering at home.

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