2 new cases of Milwaukie officers crashing while on patrol
A Milwaukie police officer who hit a pedestrian is the latest instance of the city's patrol cars tangling with locals.
The city's insurance carrier earlier this year paid $50,000 to the attorney for a man who was hurt in a crash with another Milwaukie patrol car.
In the latest case, Michael Denton Green, a 2017 Milwaukie High School graduate, was in a crosswalk on Southeast 26th Avenue along Harrison Street when he was hit around 10:45 p.m. Nov. 26.
Milwaukie police issued a press release for the crash last month but they did not for the crash in 2016 that led to the recent settlement. This newspaper learned about the recent settlement through Clackamas County Court.
Milwaukie police not issuing press releases became a hot-button issue last year when a FedEx driver fatally injured an 83-year-old in the crosswalk as she attempted to reach a bus in the Milwaukie Transit Center. Police never issued a press release in that case, in which the FedEx driver paid $260 in fines for failing to yield the right-of-way. Police declined to press criminal charges and the family is currently suing FedEx for civil damages.
After the outcry over Milwaukie's handling of Norma Gabriel's death, the city's police chief promised to send out press releases for all future cases involving vehicle drivers and bikes/pedestrians. In the ensuing media coverage it was revealed that the city had paid out a $400,000 settlement for a 2013 case in which Milwaukie Sgt. Scott Guy wasn't cited after he hit Gillian Hibbs, 70, shattering her leg bones as she tried to bike across a marked crosswalk on the Springwater Corridor.
Milwaukie Officer Mark Inman was leaving the scene of a call in the area when he hit Green in the crosswalk last month.
According to the police department, Inman stopped at a stop sign at the end of 26th and then started to pull onto Harrison. Inman reportedly saw Green, 19, just as Green made contact with Inman's vehicle.
Green, who was heading to work in downtown Portland, was pushed forward by Green's patrol car, but remained standing, police said.
Green told police that "other than a little bit of leg pain" he was uninjured and requested to leave and continue on to work. However, "in an abundance of caution" the police supervisor asked Green to remain on scene so medics could evaluate him.
Green agreed, but refused further medical attention or a visit to a hospital. After speaking with Oregon State Police, Green was driven to work by the Milwaukie police supervisor. No citations were issued.
On April 26, 2016, Milwaukie Police Officer Cathryn Meier and Caleb Wilson, who was driving a 1986 Toyota pickup truck, crashed into each other in the intersection of Southeast 40th Avenue and Adams Street, which is controlled by a two-way stop sign.
An attorney for Wilson said that it was a clear case, as Meier lacked the right-of-way; from the directions they were driving, she had a stop sign and Wilson did not. Wilson sued for nearly $132,000, but eventually settled for $50,000 this year before the case went to trial.
"As a direct and proximate result of Meier's negligence, plaintiff has suffered a left shoulder strain/sprain, lumbar strain and contusions," wrote Wilson's attorney Alison M. Turnbull.
"His injuries have resulted in and will continue to cause significant pain and suffering, permanent impairment of the use and functioning of his left arm, and significant impairment and limitation to his physical activities and well-being."
According to Turnbull, Meier's 2008 Dodge Charger patrol car proceeded through the intersection in front of Wilson. The collision caused Wilson's vehicle to spin, coming to a rest facing north on 40th Avenue.
Milwaukie's attorney wrote that Wilson "himself was careless and negligent in one or more of the following particulars: a) In failing to keep a proper lookout. b) In proceeding into the intersection at a time when the defendant's patrol car was already in the intersection. c) In operating his vehicle at an excessive speed considering the existing traffic and road conditions," which were among the allegations that Wilson's attorney made against Meier.