On Friday, February 15, 2019, at 8:14 a.m., a North Plains Police Officer saw a car driving recklessly at a high rate of speed on Highway 26 westbound near NW Glencoe Road. The officer tried to pull the car over but the driver, later identified as 23-year-old Jeremiah Libbee of Hillsboro, did not stop. The pursuit went from Highway 26 and then west on Highway 6.
Near the intersection of Highway 6 and NW Gales Creek Rd., a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy set up spike strips. The deputy saw Mr. Libbee was sideways in the on-coming lane of traffic at a high rate of speed. The deputy was attempting to remove the spike strips from Mr. Libbee’s path because the car was out of control, but Mr. Libbee drove over the spike strips before the deputy could get out of his way.
Mr. Libbee then crashed over a steep embankment, hit a large tree, and landed 20 feet below in Gales Creek. The violent crash heavily damaged the car and officers saw Mr. Libbee was being washed hundreds of yards down the fast-flowing creek before emergency responders were able to pull him out. Mr. Libbee was taken to a Portland hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Officers also saw there was an adult woman trapped in the front seat of the car. Because of the crash, she was pinned inside the car in the middle of the river. Emergency crews had to use a boat to hook tow cables to the car, in order to pull it out of the water so that she could be extricated. That complicated rescue effort involved dozens of people and took over an hour and a half to complete. At one point, the woman was underwater while trapped inside the car. She was taken to a Portland hospital with critical injuries.
The Oregon State Police responded to help with the crash investigation. The North Plains Police Department will continue the criminal investigation into the pursuit and any additional charges against Mr. Libbee. Multiple agencies were involved in helping rescue Mr. Libbee and his passenger from the river and the North Plains Police Department specifically wishes to thank the tow truck operators who worked together to pull the woman trapped in the car out of the river.