Parked police car sets off chain reaction down icy Oregon hill

A parked police vehicle created a domino effect on Monday, Dec. 5, in Pendleton, Oregon, as it slid down an icy road into other vehicles parked along the curb.

Snow still coated the road from the day before, when the unoccupied SUV began to slide backward slowly, catching the attention of a few bystanders and two police officers. As the scene progressed, Darin Rueppel started recording.

"Does it have an automatic, like, brake or something?" asked one person.

"And it parks itself?" another asked.

"It parks itself -- into a boat," quipped Rueppel just before the audible crunch of the police car sliding into the boat and its trailer.


"And then into a truck," he continued to narrate just before the foreseen collision. The police car stopped, but the first domino in the line had already fallen. The white truck went careening down the hill, creating a chain reaction of crashes.

"The crashes were concentrated in the hills, of course," Pendleton Police Department Chief Charles Byram told the local news source East Oregonian. "No injuries resulted, just property damage. I guess that's what we have insurance for. But it's a lot for us to handle in one day, with our normal workload."

The local National Weather Service warned of dangerous driving conditions Sunday afternoon as up to 3 inches of snow fell over the area, with temperatures lingering in the mid-20s into Monday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker.

The warnings for caution on the roadways continued Monday, with the NWS warning of patchy freezing fog across parts of northeastern Oregon, where Pendleton is located, and southeastern Washington.

"The snow would have made the roads slippery and probably icy with temperatures in the middle 20s," Walker said.


The PPD responded to 10 vehicle crashes by 3:20 p.m. on Monday, according to the East Oregonian, with the county sheriff's office also receiving a high number of accidents.

The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office took at least 24 accident calls throughout the day, starting around 7:30 in the morning, sheriff's Capt. Serrin Ward told the local news source. Of those accidents, four had potential injuries, but there were no fatalities reported.

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