Police Search for Oregon Hit-and-Run Driver

An Associated Press dispatch republished this morning in The Oregonian recounts a Salem hit-and-run car accident last night that that left a tow-truck driver injured.

According to the news agency a tow truck was parked Sunday evening on a Salem street where “police say the driver was loading (his) vehicle and had emergency lights activated when he was knocked down. Medics took him to Salem Hospital with injuries described as non-life-threatening.” If the news agency report is accurate the driver is potentially in big trouble: under Oregon law a hit-and-run that involves an injury is a felony.

The driver of the car that allegedly caused this Oregon injury car accident is still at large, but the AP reports that police have a significant piece of evidence in hand: one of the hit-and-run driver’s outside mirrors. “The passenger-side mirror broke off, and police believe the car likely has scrapes and possible body damage on the right side,” the news agency notes.

It is good to read that the victim’s injuries are not life-threatening, but this incident is a powerful reminder of the importance of caution whenever any of us are driving our cars near service vehicles. Few Oregon auto crashes are more easily preventable than those involving parked tow trucks, police cars, rescue vehicles and road construction crews. Oregon traffic law requires all drivers to operate their vehicles with an appropriate level of caution for whatever traffic situation they encounter. If, for example, safety flares, reflective triangles, flashing hazard lights or other indicators of a potentially dangerous roadside area can be seen then it is the driver’s responsibility to slow down and exercise appropriate caution and awareness when passing the area in question.

As a Portland car crash injury attorney these are the sort of cases one never likes to see. Justice, of course, needs to be done in the wake of something like this, but it is difficult not to ask why people cannot simply operate their cars and trucks in a safer, more sensible manner. Attorneys and courts are here to help victims obtain justice in the wake of other people’s negligence, but it would be far, far better for everyone if drivers in general were more responsible and took appropriate care every time they sat down behind the wheel.

AP via The Oregonian: Hit-and-run driver injures tow-truck operator in Salem