A Washington County Sheriff's Deputy was attempting to catch up to a vehicle that was speeding through the construction zone on NW Tualatin Valley Highway between Hillsboro and Cornelius on Saturday night. The vehicle had a significant head start on the deputy and accelerated rapidly westbound on TV Highway in an attempt to get away. The vehicle was a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
As the Jeep sped toward the city of Cornelius, it struck a 2007 Toyota Yaris that was also traveling westbound on TV Highway. The Toyota spun around causing it to strike the median and roll over onto its roof. There were two occupants in the Toyota. The deputy called the situation out to other units and requested medical assistance as he stopped to render aid to the occupants of the Toyota. The Jeep sped into a Cornelius neighborhood south of TV Highway.
Additional Sheriff's Deputies along with Police Officers from Cornelius and Forest Grove converged to the area to locate the Jeep and contact the driver. Approximately 15 minutes later, police located the Jeep hidden in a neighborhood and at 10:30 p.m., tracked the driver down at his residence. He was identified as Angel Mendoza, 21, from Cornelius.
Deputies believed that Mendoza was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. He was arrested without further incident. The driver of the Toyota was transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The passenger of the Toyota had minor injuries and was not transported. Members of the Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team assisted with the investigation.
Mendoza was lodged in the Washington County Jail. He was charged with DUII, two counts of Fourth Degree Assault, Reckless Driving, Attempt to Elude, Misdemeanor Driving while Suspended, and Hit and Run. Additional charges are possible. He is held on $20,000 bail.