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A Lake Oswego police officer or firefighter answers readers' questions in this space

Q: Are there a lot of hit-and-run incidents in Lake Oswego and do the police investigate them?

Like our other calls for service, Lake Oswego Police officers routinely respond to and investigate hit-and-run complaints. During the day our Traffic Division Motorcycle Officers (Motors) are primarily responsible for investigating vehicular crashes, including hit-and-run incidents. When the Motors are not on shift or are assigned to another call for service, our Patrol Officers respond to and investigate these incidents. Those incidents can be resolved in a variety of ways depending on the circumstances specific to that situation. Some investigations result in citations and/or criminal charges while others may end up as information exchanges when all parties have been identified.Simon

Regardless, our officers will investigate these service calls and work with any identified parties to determine the best way to resolve the incident.

As one might expect, many of our hit-and-run calls involve unattended vehicles being struck in locations where a great deal of vehicular traffic is present. This is typically our shopping and business complex areas. Our downtown, Kruse Way and Lake Grove shopping and business centers experience a good deal of hit-and-run calls as a result of that traffic. Fortunately, the damage is often minor cosmetic damage to the vehicles involved and seldom involve people getting injured. While significant vehicular crashes involving drivers fleeing the scene do occur, most of our hit-and-run calls are the parking lot "dents and scratches" variety.

Since 2017, we have seen a slight decrease in the number of documented hit-and-run incidents over the following years. In 2017 we documented roughly 140 hit-and-run calls while in 2018 we had roughly 130. This year we appear on pace to be a bit lower than 2018. Some incidents are resolved without a formal investigation once all parties are contacted and appropriate information is exchanged. As we talked about earlier, this type of resolution depends on the circumstances of the incident.

As a driver, you are responsible for providing certain information in the result of crash as required by Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 811.700 and 811.705. So if you're the driver and know or have reason to know you were involved in a collision immediately stop your vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as possible and reasonably investigate what was struck. If the crash results only in damage to an attended vehicle, be sure to remain at the scene and give to the other driver or passenger your name and address, the vehicle owner's name and address, and the name and address of any other vehicle occupants. Also provide your vehicle registration, insurance information and your driver's license if requested.

If the vehicle struck is unattended, locate the owner and provide your name and address along with the vehicle owner's name and address. Also, provide your vehicle registration along with the name, policy number and phone number for your auto insurance carrier. If you cannot locate the owner, leave a note in a conspicuous place for the unattended vehicle with the same information noted above along with a statement about what occurred. If the damage is to property or fixtures, take reasonable steps to notify the property owner and provide the same information previously mentioned here. If you leave a scene and later learn you were involved in a collision, you must make a good faith effort to comply with the crash reporting requirements already discussed.

If the crash results in injury or death to a person immediately stop, reasonably investigate what occurred and reasonably render aid to those injured. Remain at the scene until a police officer arrives and be prepared to provide all of the same information previously mentioned. If after leaving a scene you discover the collision you were involved in resulted in injury or death to the people involved, immediately call 911 and notify the appropriate authorities.

Minor vehicle crashes and hit-and-run incidents can always be reported to local law enforcement for investigation or assistance in exchanging information with the people involved. If you are involved in a crash or hit-and-run in Lake Oswego and need assistance or advice, please call our non-emergency line at (503) 635-0238 to report the incident. If it is an emergency, please call 911.

Drive safe!

Clayton Simon

Traffic Lieutenant

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