PORTLAND, Ore. – A man whom the state labeled a habitual offender because of his extensive driving record said he probably should not have been behind the wheel when he crashed into a car on Interstate 5 last week, killing a Vancouver man.
Ronald Witt, 56, appeared in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tuesday to face a felony charge of driving without a license.
When KATU reporter Dan Tilkin asked him if he thought he should have been behind the wheel on Friday, Witt replied, “Probably not.”
When Tilkin asked Witt why, then, was he behind the wheel that evening, Witt said “Stupidity.”
Court documents show that police think Witt was driving between 55-60 mph on I-5 near the Capitol Highway exit when he turned to look at a broken down vehicle on the side of the freeway. Witt told police that when he looked back at the road he was “on top of the guy”, referring to the car in front of him.
Tom Swift, 52, of Vancouver, Wash., died after Witt’s pickup truck smashed into his compact car, crushing the rear half and causing it to crash into another car.
Witt tested clean for drugs and alcohol.
Witt told police that he didn’t have a valid driver’s license because it was suspended or revoked after a DUII from about four years ago, court documents showed. He told police that he’s been convicted of DUII roughly ten times.
In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said Witt has six previous DUII convictions.
Witt could face more charges after police finish their investigation.
He’s scheduled to appear in court Aug. 27.