Police: Terrain prevented police from looking for man after crash

TROUTDALE, Ore. - Dash camera video released to KATU News Thursday shows an officer looking for a man who walked away from a crash and hasn't been seen since.

Kyle Peterson, 29, was involved in a single-vehicle crash Monday night on Southeast Stark Street near 35th Street, not far from the Sandy River. He called 911 after the crash, and as a responding Troutdale police officer spoke to Peterson, Peterson turned and walked away into a heavily wooded area southeast of the crash.

According to police, the police officer yelled after Peterson, telling him to stop, but Peterson didn't respond and disappeared into the woods.

The dash cam video shows the officer walking up and down the road while shining a flashlight into the darkened woods.

Police said Thursday the reason they didn't go after Peterson was because of the terrain. There is a sheer cliff that goes down to the Sandy River not far from where Peterson was last seen.

"There's sheer cliffs that go right down to the river there, so the dog tracked to where there was a safe point - again it's very dark, and we had an incident there a year or two ago where a canine had fell off the cliff and hurt himself. So we knew the area was treacherous, and they weren't going to go farther than they felt safe to do so," said Sgt. Carey Kaer with the Troutdale Police Department.

"I think they've done an excellent job," said Lynn Bauer, Peterson's mother. "They got their search and rescue crew out here, they had three or four different types, repellers, runners, ground searchers. I mean they did everything the next day that they could. And then with the river search, and the additional river search that was done today, I can't say Im not happy. I guess I would have been happier if they would have found him."

Crews spent all day searching the Sandy River. A friend of the Peterson family donated special sonar equipment. The sonar equipment is more advanced than the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office's equipment.

So far the effort has turned up nothing.

Peterson's family said it's uncharacteristic of him to just walk off from situations. They believe he got a head injury in the crash and became disoriented.

Peterson's family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community, and they're hopeful he will be found alive.

Search crews are evaluating things Thursday night and they'll make a decision about next steps by Friday morning.

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