Driver in deadly I-5 crash released from jail

Driver in deadly I-5 crash released from jail »Play Video
Ronald Witt

PORTLAND, Ore. – The man arrested after a deadly crash on Interstate 5 is out of jail.

Ronald Witt, 56, of Tigard, was released from the Multnomah County Jail on Saturday. Witt was driving while his license was revoked, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Witt’s Ford-150 pickup rear-ended a Chevrolet coupe, which in turn smashed into the back of an Audi, according to police.

Thomas Swift, 52, of Vancouver, Wash., died after the crash.

Witt was released from jail on his own recognizance. Lt. Steve Alexander with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said the misdemeanor charge of driving while suspended or revoked is a low-level crime. The court personnel who reviewed his case didn’t think he was a danger to the public and allowed Witt’s release, Alexander said.

“As a society we’ve decided if we have to let someone out, we’ll let out a driving offender before we let out a child molester, rapist or murderer,” said Bruce McCain, a former Captain with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

The state labeled Witt a habitual offender because of his driving record. Witt was arrested for DUII in 1994 and 2005. He refused to take a breathalyzer test in 2008. He's had his license suspended or revoked seven times.

KATU tried to reach Witt for comment. No one answered the door at his Tigard home. Neighbors said he moved away.

KATU's Dan Cassuto contributed to this story.