July 18, 2013
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
Photograph link valid at least 30 days - Source: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
A 31-year old Milwaukie man was arrested on several charges Wednesday afternoon by Oregon State Police (OSP) following numerous reckless driving complaints along Interstate 5 and Interstate 205. The man’s driving ended after he passed an OSP unmarked patrol vehicle in heavy traffic on Interstate 205 near Stark Street and becoming involved in a non-injury traffic crash at the off-ramp to eastbound Interstate 84.
On July 17, 2013 at approximately 5:18 p.m., the first of several citizen driving complaints was received into OSP Northern Command Center dispatch of a reckless, high speed driver. The first complaint reported a “bright orange small car” with unknown license plate northbound on Interstate 5 near Wilsonville. As OSP troopers tried to get into position to find and stop the vehicle, more calls were received indicating a similar vehicle description was northbound on Interstate 205 at speeds in excess of 100 mph and passing on shoulders.
Officers were not able to get in position ahead of the vehicle as calls put the vehicle northbound approaching Portland. OSP dispatch was sharing the driving complaint details with other local dispatch centers when an OSP captain in an unmarked patrol car northbound in the left lane near the Stark Street overpass reported a matching vehicle passed him on the left shoulder traveling over 100 mph with a “rooster tail” of dirt and debris tossed into the air behind it. The vehicle quickly went out of the captain’s sight as he tried to move through heavy traffic with emergency lights and siren activated.
About two minutes later at approximately 5:38 p.m., the captain noted traffic was coming to a stop near the northbound Interstate 205 off-ramp to eastbound Interstate 84. He saw the recklessly driven vehicle, an orange 2004 Ford Focus two-door, had been involved in a traffic crash with another vehicle and they were off the freeway shoulder. The Ford’s driver was outside walking back to his car when OSP pulled up and took him into custody without incident.
Witness information indicates the Ford tried to cross all northbound lanes from the inside shoulder to the eastbound exit ramp when it collided into the back of a passenger vehicle. There were no injuries to any involved occupants.
As additional OSP troopers arrived at the scene, an investigation progressed and the driver was identified as JAMES GEORGE NELSON, age 31, from Milwaukie. NELSON initially gave a false name but troopers, using an in-car mobile computer, obtained a DMV photo for the car’s registered owner and confirmed his identity. Troopers also developed probable cause that NELSON was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. A small amount of residence, suspected to be methamphetamine, was found inside the car.
Additionally, troopers found property suspected of possibly being stolen inside the car. One of the items, a watch, was later confirmed stolen out of California. A spring-loaded knife and a live blasting cap were also found in the car. NELSON, who is a convicted felon, is not allowed to possess the knife. The live blasting cap was moved to a safe location at the scene and removed by members of Portland Police Bureau Explosives Disposal Unit.
According to OSP troopers, many people driving past the scene shouted their thanks for finding the vehicle and arresting its driver. Others also shouted angry comments toward the driver.
NELSON was lodged in the Multnomah County Jail on the following charges:
* Reckless Driving
* Recklessly Endangering Another Person
* Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree
* DUII - Controlled Substance
* Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Felon
* Unlawful Possession of a Destructive Device (live blasting cap)
* Furnishing False Information to a Police Officer
NELSON was also cited for Driving While Suspended.
Additional charges may be pending as a result of the ongoing investigation.