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Rule of thumb: A driver who will hit-and-run a police car is a driver to be very wary of

DAVID F. ASHTON - A wrecker pulled the smashed police patrol car up onto its flatbed, after it was hit by the fleeing driver of a stolen SUV. Before dawn on Tuesday morning, February 6, an East Precinct patrol car was sent to the intersection of S.E. 60th Avenue and Harney Street when a neighbor reported seeing a man in the street, who appeared to be in distress.

When the officers arrived, at 5:19 a.m., they found no one in distress – but they did discover several broken-into cars along the street.

"As the officers investigated the car prowls, they found an occupied Ford Escape nearby, and decided to contact the driver," reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. "While still inside their patrol vehicle, and prior to contacting the person of interest, the driver of the Ford started up, crashed into a parked vehicle as well as the officers' patrol vehicle, and drove off."

With their patrol car too damaged to drive, the officers could only watch the Ford SUV drive away – and radio for backup help, which brought ten more officers to the area.

"Other officers responded located the unoccupied Ford Escape about three blocks away, near S.E. Malden Drive and Harney Drive," Burley said.

A K-9 team was not successful at sniffing out the fleet-footed suspect, who, as it turned out, was driving a Ford that had been reported stolen.

"One of the two officers in the patrol vehicle at the time of the crash sustained a minor injury and was treated at the scene," Burley added. At last report the thief was still at large.

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