Driver flees police, hits building; wrong-way driver snarls Hwy 26

Driver flees police, hits building; wrong-way driver snarls Hwy 26

PORTLAND, Ore. - Police were busy with two crashes in the Portland area early Thursday morning, including one driver that hit a building and another going the wrong way on a freeway.

Just after 1:20 a.m., Sgt. Pete Simpson said an officer spotted "possible drug activity" involving a vehicle near SE 122nd and Market and tried to pull the driver over near SE 119th and Clinton Street.

But police said the driver, identified as Lloyd Nelson, 37, tried to flee instead and a chase ensued - around the block, twice.

Nelson hit parked cars and a mailbox with his 2000 Dodge Durango but kept on going, police said, eventually turning into a parking lot.

Nelson then hit a building housing several businesses near SE 122nd and Woodward. Police said he was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Investigators said they found body armor and drugs in Nelson's car.

Police said Nelson was taken to the Multnomah County Jail on charges of felon in possession of body armor, attempt to elude by vehicle, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, attempt to elude on foot, failure to perform the duties of a driver, reckless driving, and theft in the second degree by receiving.

Meanwhile, police said a wrong-way driver caused a crash and major traffic jam when he drove the wrong way onto Highway 26 just before 5 a.m.

The crash took place in the westbound lanes and police said the driver, identified as Eric Christian Lovato, 22, was going eastbound in the westbound lanes near the Oregon Zoo.

Police did not say how many vehicles were involved in the crash or if there were any injuries. Lovato faces DUII and reckless driving charges, police said .

Traffic backed up on both Highway 26 and Highway 405 in Portland but crews eventually cleared the crash scene and all lanes reopened as rush hour arrived.

Both incidents are under investigation by police. Nelson is due in court on Friday.