Police chase in Eugene ends in violent crash; 2 killed, 2 hurt
EUGENE, Ore. - Two people were killed and two others were hurt, including a police officer, early Wednesday morning in Eugene when police said a teen driver fleeing from an Oregon State Police trooper smashed into a pickup truck.
A Eugene Police cruiser was also hit during the crash. Eugene police said the driver of the car that was fleeing from the OSP trooper is 16-year-old Emmanuel Herrara-Gutierrez.
Oregon State Police said a man and a woman in the pickup truck were ejected from their vehicle during the crash. They later died from their injuries, according to Eugene police. The deceased man was identified as Richard Lee Taylor, 62, of Eugene. The woman, age 43, has not been identified yet.
The Eugene Police vehicle that was hit was not involved with the chase and an officer suffered minor injuries, Oregon State Police said.
Eugene Police later identified the officer as Recruit Officer Joshua Sundquist. His age was not given but police said he was treated at the hospital and released with non-life threatening injuries.
Herrara-Gutierrez was also injured but he has since been released from the hospital and is in juvenile criminal detention, Eugene police said.
The incident started around 12:30 a.m. when a state trooper pulled over the Nissan on Beltline Road after clocking the driver at 105 miles per hour.
As the trooper exited his cruiser and approached the car, the Nissan sped off and ran a red light.
Less than a minute later, the driver ran a second red light at Bertlesen and slammed broadside into a Chevy S10 pickup.
"Total length of time of pursuit is estimated right now to be approximately 43 seconds, so it wasn't a very long event at all," Capt. Rich Stronach from the Eugene Police Department said.
The suspect, the injured police officer and the two people in the pickup truck were all taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center after the crash, Oregon State Police said in a press release.
Herrara-Gutierrez has no valid driver's license, Stronach said. The vehicle is registered to the Churchill High School student's family.
The intersection was closed for eight hours while investigators worked at the scene.
Per Oregon State Police policy, all pursuits are reviewed through the chain of command, Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police said.
"We look to see if there were any violations of our policy, anything that we need to consider for future training and to determine if there are any lessons learned."
Troopers have authority to terminate a pursuit if they feel it's not safe.
"We are not shy about terminating a pursuit, and we have done so in many cases," Hastings said. "Unfortunately, and our condolences go out to the families that are affected by this - but this is short in duration compared to many. It took, according to EPD, about 43 seconds from the moment that it left the scene of the attempted traffic stop to where the collision occurred."
In 2009, a drunk driver hit a vehicle at the same intersection, killing four people including two children, ages 10 and 11. Another child in the car was injured.
Matthew Ellmers is serving a 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to four counts of manslaughter and several other charges related to the crash.