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Elusive driver nabbed after causing wreck near Cornelius

A speeding driver should have quit while he was ahead last Friday evening.

On Aug. 23 at 9:51 p.m., a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office attempted to catch up to a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee seen speeding through a construction zone on Northwest Tualatin Valley Highway between Hillsboro and Cornelius.

According to law enforcement officials, the vehicle accelerated rapidly westbound in an attempt to get away from the pursuing deputy. As the Jeep sped toward 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, and the deputy requested medical assistance and stopped to render aid.

The Jeep, meanwhile, sped away into a Cornelius neighborhood south of TV Highway.

Additional WCSO deputies, along with police officers from Cornelius and Forest Grove, converged on the area, and after about 15 minutes, they located the Jeep. At 10:30 p.m., officers tracked the suspected driver down at his residence. The suspect was identified as Angel Mendoza, 21, of Cornelius.Mendoza

Deputies allege that Mendoza was driving under the influence of alcohol (DUII) at the time of the crash, and he was arrested without further incident.

Mendoza was lodged into the Washington County Jail and 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 being held on $20,000 bail.

The driver of the Toyota was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening. The passenger of the Toyota was not seriously injured.




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