Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Woodburn Safeway worker saw the SUV coming up behind him quickly, then in the blink of an eye his car was totaled and the culprits were down the road and out of sight

COURTESY OF DARREN LOPEZ - Darren Lopez only had his 2015 Ford Fiesta for about a month before a hit-and-run driver smashed into it shortly after his finished his work shift at Woodburn Safeway, causing an estimated $10k in damages.COURTESY OF DARREN LOPEZ - Darren Lopez only had his 2015 Ford Fiesta for about a month before a hit-and-run driver smashed into it shortly after his finished his work shift at Woodburn Safeway, causing an estimated $10k in damages.

If you spot a late-2000 model silver BMW SUV with what appears to be some recent front-end damage, there are some people who would be interested in knowing about it – including the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Darren Lopez, 26, of Salem would also be interested.

Lopez works at the Woodburn Safeway and had just finished his first Sunday shift of the year around midnight before heading up Boones Ferry Road to his girlfriend's house. While driving north in the vicinity where Boones Ferry intersects Hazelnut Drive, he noticed a vehicle coming up behind him at a reckless pace.

"I was on going north on Boones Ferry Road…just past the golf course, when I saw a car in my rear view flying towards me," Lopez recounted. "I flashed my brakes a few times to try and get their attention, since they weren't going anywhere near the posted 35 miles per hour.

"I realized they weren't going to stop, so I swerved to the left and they hit me at what I think was 60 to 80 miles per hour. They didn't slow down or even brake after hitting me. They just kept going north on Boones Ferry Road at a high rate of speed."

Lopez said the impact knocked his 2015 Ford Fiesta ST into the (fortunately clear) oncoming lane. The vehicle was traveling so fast he could not get a license-plate number. But in the flash of the moment he did get a quick look at the vehicle and a guess of the make, model and year.

Marion County Sheriff's Office received a call from Lopez at 12:13 a.m. Monday morning, right after the crash occurred.

Lopez was not injured, so the Sheriff's Office took his information and filed the report.

"I checked out the car as best I could at the scene and drove to my in-laws' house in Woodburn since it's like a mile from where I was hit," he said. "That way I could check out the car more. Everything seemed (in tact) enough to drive it home from there to Salem where I live."

Lopez had only had his Fiesta for about a month before the crash, but the shop he took it to for repairs noticed some serious damages to its structural integrity, to the tune of around $10,000. It's insured with a deductible, but its driver would still like to know who is responsible for this.

MCSO data show that hit-and-runs damages are not uncommon. In 2017 there were 474; in 2018 there were 431 and in 2019 that swelled to 501.

"These are the number of Hit & Run calls Marion County Sheriff's Office was was dispatched to, it does not include other jurisdictions in Marion County," MCSO Sgt. Jeremy Landers said.

Landers noted that the gamut and range of damages is wide, anything from parking lots dings, to mailboxes, rural fences to full-blown totals.

Among the 2019 numbers was a night crash at 99E and Waconda Road in October that sent a Woodburn man to the hospital with serious injuries. Police arrested the driver in that crash the next day.

To his dismay, Lopez's vehicular damages are starting up the new hit-and-run tally for 2020, it's also among the higher end in damages; most parking lot dings don't come anywhere near $10k to repair.

Lopez heard back from a MCSO deputy that early morning, who told him patrol deputies searched Hubbard and Woodburn in the area and did not see the SUV. Lopez was perplexed since the SUV was leaving Woodburn when it hit him.

"They did not mention looking near St. Paul or Newberg (Yamhill County), which is another area the road leads to," Lopez said. "They did not give me any further information about what they would do to help, other than to hope someone calls in the next few days and admits fault.

"I felt pretty blown off." 

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- Driver flees after 99E crash

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