Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a dramatic crash this week, in which a driver with meth and alcohol in his system collided with another vehicle early Wednesday morning, ran through a fence and smashed into a tree.
The victim driver in the other vehicle was injured, and the victim driver’s truck was totaled, its axle separating from the vehicle.
Just after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, deputies responded to the report of a traffic crash at the intersection of SE Johnson Road and SE Clackamas Road in Clackamas. The crash reportedly involved two pickup trucks.
When deputies arrived on-scene, they found debris from the collision scattered across the roadway and intersection. A brown-colored truck at the intersection had lost its rear axle, which was sitting behind the truck. The driver of the brown truck had a non-life-threatening injury to his arm, and will seek his own medical attention.
The black Ford truck that caused the collision was found further to the east. It had traveled through a fence and into a tree after colliding into the rear of the brown truck.
The black Ford truck had extensive front-end damage, including a fractured piece of wood that punctured the windshield and lodged in the truck. The black truck also struck a 35-mph speed sign and pinned it between the truck and a large Douglas Fir tree.
The driver of the black Ford was still inside the truck and was not being cooperative with the first responders. The truck’s suspect driver was later identified as Richard John Miller, 56, of Clackamas. He has some visible lacerations and appeared altered. Miller was holding the door shut and refusing to get out of the truck.
Deputies, firefighters and paramedics reasoned with Miller for an extended period of time, and were able to eventually gain his cooperation and move him to a gurney that AMR paramedics had brought over. While placing him on the gurney, Miller began to yell. He was loaded into an AMR ambulance and transported to an area hospital for treatment.
A deputy deployed to the hospital to conduct a DUII investigation of Miller as he was being treated. Alcohol and methamphetamine were found in Miller’s system, and he was cited on DUII charges.
Meanwhile, deputies investigating the collision were able to secure video of the crash via cameras installed in a home on the corner.
The video shows the victim’s brown truck headed east on SE Clackamas Rd, slowing for the stop sign at the four-way stop intersection. Suspect Miller’s black Ford truck was travelling at a high rate of speed eastbound behind the brown truck.
As seen in the video, the black Ford was travelling in the oncoming lane and may have been attempting to pass the brown truck when it instead collided with it — sending both trucks careening across the intersection.
While responding to this scene, deputies who were finishing their night shift believed they recognized the description of suspect Miller’s black truck, which had been operated by a subject they’d dealt with earlier that night. When they arrived, they confirmed they had in fact been dealing with suspect Miller earlier at his residence.
The earlier call had been at 2:20 a.m., when deputies had responded to SE Kaslin Way in Clackamas. The dispatcher noted what sounded like a physical struggle. Multiple deputies and a sheriff’s K-9 responded to the address.
They spent over an hour outside the residence. They could see Miller inside yelling and moving around the house. He was refusing to answer the door. Miller was acting strange and appeared to be trying to hide from the deputies.
Through contact with a neighbor, deputies were able to obtain contact information for Miller’s wife, who lives at the same location. She stated she was fine and had left the house to stay at a hotel earlier in the day because Miller was acting like this.
Based on information deputies received from the wife and their observations, it did not appear anyone else was inside the residence and in danger, so they left.
Shortly after the CCSO received the call of the 6 a.m. collision between the two trucks, a neighbor called 911 to report that Miller had left his house at a high rate of speed in his black Ford truck.
Clackamas Fire District No. 1 and American Medical Response assisted at the crash scene. Milwaukie Police assisted with the call on SE Kaslin Way.