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Canine, unmanned aerial system officers locate hit-and-run suspect

November 15, 2023

On Nov. 15, just before 2:00 am, a Gresham Police officer, parked in his patrol vehicle in the 1200 block of E. Powell Boulevard, observed a vehicle drive past him eastbound at a speed estimated to be faster than 100 miles per hour.

The officer attempted to make a traffic stop on the vehicle using emergency lights, but the driver did not stop and continued to drive recklessly, running red lights to elude the officer. The officer later located the vehicle after it had spun out and left the roadway in the 3900 block of SE Powell Valley Road, crashing into a street sign and a residential fence.

By the time the officer located the wreck, the suspect had already fled the scene and ran out of his bright white shoes, which the officer located in the road. Officers later determined the vehicle was stolen from Portland.

Patrol officers surrounded the area and canine officer Debler, along with his partner, Jager, coordinated with a UAS (unmanned aerial system) officer to locate the suspect in a nearby backyard. The suspect could likely see and hear the canine and UAS closing in on him and called out to them that he wanted to surrender.

The suspect was taken into custody without incident and transported to an area hospital to be checked for his injuries from the crash. Giovanni Smith, 21, of Portland, was later lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center on suspicion of reckless driving; attempting to elude a police officer – felony; failure to perform duties of driver – felony; unauthorized use of a vehicle; possession of a stolen vehicle; and driving under influence of intoxicants. Smith was also lodged on unrelated warrants.