Police say the chase ended on the Springfield Bridge after the driver crashed into one of the support beams going more than 90 miles per hour.
Police say it was just after 1 a.m. when a speeding SUV passed a Springfield police officer on Main Street near Chapman.
“He saw a vehicle go by him at an extreme rate of speed,” said Officer Tom Speldrich, Springfield Police Department.
All police in the area were notified, and moments later Speldrich spotted the vehicle near the corner of 38th and Main. He attempted to pull the car over without success.
“Just rapidly accelerated, and wouldn’t yield to the lights or the siren,” Speldrich said.
That led to a high speed chase, traveling west on Main Street. Officer Speldrich says the driver continued to accelerate and started running red lights.
“Myself and the other officer that was chasing it began to back off because the speeds were just too extreme,” Speldrich said.
Officers briefly lost sight of the car as it neared Mill Street, but soon realized it had crashed into the Springfield Bridge. Police say the driver, a 15-year-old who had taken his parents’ car, is charged with attempt to elude, reckless driving, criminal mischief and no operators license. He was taken to the hospital, alert and conscious.
“He may have some broken bones, is what we’re told,” Speldrich said.
The bridge will also need some time to recover. ODOT shut it down for about two hours following the crash because one of its support beams was damaged.
“The bridge is still perfectly safe to handle traffic. At this point, we haven’t weight restricted it,” said Rick Little, ODOT Spokesperson.
ODOT workers took pictures of the damage and sent them to Portland where their bridge engineering unit will begin making a repair plan.
“With bridges, anytime you have a couple of support members damaged you want to get on it right away. So we consider this an urgent repair and not an emergency repair,” Little said.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane Friday morning between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. while crews take a closer look. Repairs should take place in a week or two.