by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Officers watch, as a crash investigator sets up the TotalStation surveying tool used to document and recreate the accident scene.22-year-old Max Martin, a hoodie-wearing pedestrian possibly occupied with talking on a cell phone at the time according to witnesses, stepped off the south curb of the crosswalk at S.E. 31st Avenue onto Powell Boulevard just before 9 pm on Thursday night, January 9th. He didn’t make it across the street.

When THE BEE arrived at the scene, a driver was telling officials that he saw Martin start walking across the eastbound lanes of S.E. Powell Boulevard, and he stopped his car in the inner westbound lane to let the pedestrian pass.

“A different westbound car in the outside lane did not stop, and struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk and kept going,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“After he hit the pavement,” witness Rena Atsworth told THE BEE, “I saw a little blood trickling down from his ear, and he wasn’t moving. I called 9-1-1.” As a result, Powell Boulevard was shut down well into the night, as the PPB Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team responded to conduct an investigation.

For two days, officials remained tight-lipped about the accident, or on the condition of the victim.

Then, on January 11, Simpson stated, “The vehicle, a silver 2003 Ford Focus, was recovered in southwest Portland, and a suspect associated to the vehicle has been identified. The suspect has not yet been arrested.” And the victim, Max Martin, is described as remaining hospitalized with “traumatic injuries”.

Police served a search warrant on the vehicle and on the residence of the owner, 58-year-old Gregory Latoza, as part of the investigation. Finally, on Tuesday, January 21, Latoza turned himself in to police at Central Precinct downtown. He was booked into Multonmah County Jail on two counts of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run), and was arraigned the following day.

As they build their case, police still ask anyone with information about the crime to contact Officer Erik Koppang at 503/823-2216, or to e-mail him at: HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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