Man with revoked license arrested after deadly crash on I-5

Man with revoked license arrested after deadly crash on I-5 »Play Video
This photo taken by Kyle Virding shows one of the cars involved in a fatal crash on Interstate 5 south near Capital Highway on Friday evening. The southbound lanes will be closed until at least 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested a man after a fatal crash on Interstate 5 near the Barbur Boulevard exit on Friday.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner said Thomas Swift, 52, of Vancouver, Wash., died after the crash.

Ronald David Witt, 56, of Tigard, was driving while his license was revoked, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. 

Southbound lanes of Interstate 5 between Terwilliger and 99W were reopened at about 9 p.m., more than 3.5 hours after the crash.

Simpson said Witt was driving a Ford-150 pickup when he rear-ended a Chevrolet coupe, which in turn smashed into the back of an Audi.

The closure caused traffic backups into downtown and along northbound Interstate 5 in the area of the crash.

Witt has such a bad driving record with DUII’s and driving while suspended or revoked the state has labeled him a habitual offender.

Witt was arrested for DUI in 1994 and 2005. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test in 2008.

He's had his license suspended or revoked seven times.

Two men who work nearby and heard the crash ran down to the freeway to help. They heard Witt talking about the crash.

"I heard the gentleman say, 'I didn't see him. I didn't see him.' But you know he's the one that's going to have some problems coming up," said Nick Tobias.

"He just shook his head and was like, 'I didn’t see him.' You know, I don't know how you don't see somebody in the freeway," said Jimmy Gomez.

When Tobias and Gomez rushed down into the freeway to help, the driver of the crushed coupe wasn't breathing. So they pulled him from his car and a third man started CPR.

Police say they don't think Witt was driving impaired at the time of the crash. They also don't believe he was speeding either because rush-hour traffic at the time was fairly heavy on the freeway though Southwest Portland.

Simpson said Witt was taken to the Multnomah County Jail.

KATU's Bob Heye contributed to this report.