Washington Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
House Photo
House Photo
House Fire in Bethany Leads to Death Investigation (Photo) - 03/14/19

On Thursday, March 14, 2019, shortly after 6:00 a.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a house fire after firefighters from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue discovered a man’s body inside.

The house is located on NW Meadowgrass Drive, near NW 174th Avenue in the Bethany area of unincorporated Washington County.

While sheriff’s office detectives and a member of the Washington County Medical Examiner Program are investigating the death, it does not appear to be suspicious in nature.

Preliminary results indicate the 64-year-old man died of accidental causes, possibly involving a cigarette.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday to determine the exact cause of death.

The man’s identity will be released once family notification has been completed.

Attached Media Files: PDF Version , House Photo
Man Hit and Killed by Car While Walking Across Highway - 03/10/19

On Saturday, March 9, 2019, at 6:59 p.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of a person who had been hit by a car while crossing SW Tualatin Valley Highway, just outside the City of Cornelius.

Deputies arrived to find the body of a 59-year-old man from Hillsboro, who appeared to have been hit by a white 2006 Honda Accord with front-end damage. The driver of the car, a 20-year-old man from Cornelius, remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

The initial investigation indicates the driver of the Honda Accord was driving westbound on SW Tualatin Valley Highway at NW 334th Avenue when the crash happened.

A witness reports a possible second vehicle may have also hit the victim, but that vehicle or driver have yet to be identified.

The possibility of driver impairment is also under investigation.

The victim of the crash has been identified as Dionicio Olvera of Hillsboro.

The highway was closed for several hours following the crash while the Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team (CART) began its investigation.

CART is a multi-agency team of specially trained law enforcement officers from the sheriff’s office and the Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, King City, Tigard, and Tualatin police departments. The Washington County District Attorney’s Office also has an assigned deputy district attorney on the team, who responded to this crash.

The sheriff’s office would like to thank the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for setting up a detour while the investigation was underway.

Attached Media Files: PDF Version
Photo
Photo
Sheriff's Office Names New Public Information Officer (Photo) - 03/08/19

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has appointed Deputy Brian van Kleef to the position of public information officer (PIO).

Deputy van Kleef has served the sheriff’s office for five years in the jail division. His assignments include jail release and intake management coordinator, special needs pod deputy, and he continues to serve on the sheriff’s office diversity, equity and inclusion team. Deputy van Kleef formally served for three years as a court security transport unit and reserve deputy with the agency.

In addition to his law enforcement experience, Deputy van Kleef brings a wealth of news media experience to the agency. Over a 17 year career, he worked at KPTV and KGW (Portland), KING and KCPQ (Seattle), KHQ (Spokane), KNDU/KNDO (Tri-Cities/Yakima), and KPHO/KTVK (Phoenix). Deputy van Kleef was the executive producer of “Good Day Oregon” for six years, earning his first of two Emmys in 2009.

“Building trust and ongoing communication are key in creating transparency with the public,” said Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett. “To that end, the PIO is crucial in ensuing the public receives information in an accurate and timely manner while further building trust. We are excited to bring Deputy van Kleef to this position and see how he will continue the success of this program.”

Media inquiries may continue to be directed the media-only PIO phone number (503-209-5613) and email address (WCSOPIO@co.washington.or.us).

Deputy van Kleef replaces former public information officer Deputy Jeff Talbot, who is relocating with his family to Seattle.

Attached Media Files: PDF , Photo
Photo 1
Photo 1
Impaired Driver Airlifted to Hospital After Crash Causes Vehicle Fire (Photo) - 03/01/19

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, at 4:12 p.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies serving the City of Cornelius responded to an injury traffic crash at the intersection of South 12th Street and South Dogwood Street.

Community members had pulled an unconscious female from a red 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee prior to deputies arriving. When deputies arrived, the Jeep caught fire and deputies attempted to use fire extinguishers to control the flames. Cornelius Fire & Rescue, assisted by Forest Grove Fire & Rescue responded to treat the driver and extinguish the flames.

Based on witness accounts, deputies learned that Jeep was traveling southbound on South 12th Street at a high rate of speed when it struck a Toyota Camry at South Dogwood Street. The collision caused the Jeep to spin and strike a parked Chevrolet Silverado, and later catch fire.

The driver of the Jeep, 18-year-old Natalie Saiz-Amezquita of Cornelius, was transported by Metro West Ambulance to a nearby Life Flight helicopter, which airlifted her to a Portland trauma hospital.

During their investigation, deputies learned Ms. Saiz-Amezquita was impaired by alcohol. After being discharged from the hospital, she was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, second-degree criminal mischief, and reckless driving.

The inter-agency Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team (CART) assisted with the investigation.

There were no other injuries reported.

Attached Media Files: PDF , Photo 1 , Photo 2 , Photo 3 , Booking Photo
Firearms
Firearms
Narcotics Investigation Leads to Arrest of Father, Son in Aloha (Photo) - 02/28/19

On February 25, 2019, at 7:40 p.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted a traffic stop at Aloha Market Centre, located in the 20200 block of Tualatin Valley Highway. The stop was part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.

With the assistance of Washington County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Taz, investigators located a significant amount of cash and cocaine inside the vehicle. The driver, Luis Madrigal, 21, of Beaverton, was arrested for delivery of cocaine and possession of cocaine.

Investigators responded to Mr. Madrigal’s residence, located in the 20000 block of Rock Road in Aloha, to continue their investigation. Luis’ father, Ramiro Madrigal-Magana, was located nearby and attempted to flee on foot but was quickly caught.

With assistance from the Westside Interagency Narcotics (WIN) team, investigators seized two rifles, one rifle/grenade launcher combination, two handguns, a shotgun, over $19,000 in cash, and evidence of a drug dealing operation. A total of 1.6 pounds of cocaine was seized during the investigation, with an approximate street value of $25,000.

Mr. Madrigal-Magana, 47, of Beaverton, was charged with delivery of cocaine, possession of cocaine, felon in possession of weapon, interfering with police, and possession of a fictitious ID.

The Westside Interagency Narcotics (WIN) team is a multi-agency team comprised of members from the Washingto­n County Sheriff’s Office, Beaverton Police Department, Hillsboro Police Department, Oregon Air National Guard, Homeland Security Investigations, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Washington County is a designated county within the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). This program provides federal assistance to the WIN team and all of its participating agencies.

Photo
Photo
City of Cornelius Names New Police Chief (Photo) - 02/26/19

The City of Cornelius, in partnership with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, has named Lieutenant John Bennett the new chief of police for the city.

“Lieutenant John Bennett has a strong résumé to serve as the new Cornelius police chief and we expect he will bring depth to his new leadership position,” said City Manager Rob Drake.

Chief Bennett is experienced in all forms of criminal investigations, hostage negotiation, and managing critical incidents. He also has a strong track record of training newer law enforcement officers, among many other valuable criminal justice skills. Most recently, Chief Bennett supervised the School Resource Officer Program for the sheriff’s office and worked closely with local school districts on safety and security issues.

Cornelius Mayor Jef Dalin said, “The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has done an excellent job of serving Cornelius residents.”

The Sheriff’s Office has provided police services to the City of Cornelius since 2014. The department serves more than 12,000 residents with 13 employees, patrolling an area of 2.2 square miles.

Chief Bennett replaces former chief Al Roque, who has been promoted to commander of the Services Division at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Attached Media Files: PDF , Photo
Photo 1
Photo 1
Vehicle Hit by Train After Driver Runs Off Road, Becomes Stuck on Tracks (Photo) - 02/22/19

On Friday, February 22, 2019, at 3:34 a.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to multiple reports of a collision involving a train and vehicle near the intersection of Southwest 173rd Avenue and Southwest Shaw Street in Aloha.

During their investigation, deputies learned that a silver 2002 BMW 3-Series drove northbound through the end of a T-intersection and became stuck on the tracks. A Portland & Western Railroad train, comprised of two engines and 33 cars, struck the BMW and pushed it east about 15 feet.

The driver was out of the vehicle when the collision occurred and was uninjured.

The driver of the BMW, a 20-year-old Aloha man, was cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Deputies believe he likely had a combination of drugs and alcohol in his system. Toxicology results are pending.

The involved vehicle was towed from the scene. Railroad personnel also responded. The Beaverton Police Department assisted with the investigation.

Attached Media Files: PDF , Photo 1 , Photo 2 , Photo 3 , Photo 4
Juan Diaz-Gomez
Juan Diaz-Gomez
Deputies Arrest Aloha Man Who Shot From Vehicle While Driving Impaired (Photo) - 02/22/19

On Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 9:17 p.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to multiple reports of gunfire heard in the area of Southwest Farmington Road and Southwest 192nd Avenue in Aloha.

As deputies were flooding the area to search, dispatch continued to receive reports of additional instances of gunfire. Many of those reports came from community members of Pine Ridge Mobile Park, located at 6900 Southwest 195th Avenue.

At 9:38 p.m., deputies located the suspect outside his residence at the mobile park. The suspect was highly intoxicated and had just crashed the SUV he was driving into his own vehicle parked in the driveway.

Based on witness accounts, deputies believe the suspect fired multiple rounds, during multiple instances, indiscriminately into the air while driving impaired around the neighborhood. Deputies located spent shell casings inside the SUV and later seized a handgun from inside the residence.

Juan Diaz-Gomez, 21, of Aloha, was arrested on seven counts of unlawful use of a weapon, seven counts of reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence of intoxicants, and reckless driving.

There were no reports of injuries or property damage as a result of stray bullets.

Attached Media Files: PDF , Juan Diaz-Gomez , Handgun
Jeremiah Libbee
Jeremiah Libbee
Update #2: Pursuit Suspect Who Crashed Into Gales Creek Arrested (Photo) - 02/19/19

This information is being released by the Washington County Sheriff's Office on behalf of the North Plains Police Department, which is the lead agency for this incident.

Earlier this afternoon, North Plains Police Department officers arrested 23-year-old Jeremiah Libbee in Portland. They were assisted by Portland Police Bureau officers.

He is being held at the Washington County Jail on charges of third-degree assault, attempt to elude, reckless endangering, reckless driving, and driving while criminally suspended.

The earlier media releases are below.

# # #

Update #1: Investigation Continues Regarding Pursuit That Led to Gales Creek Water Rescue

February 18, 2019 -- The North Plains Police Department continues to investigate Friday’s pursuit that ended with the water rescue from Gales Creek.

The rescued passenger is being identified as a 21-year-old Gaston woman. She is listed in stable condition at a Portland hospital. She is considered a victim in this ongoing investigation.

The suspect, driver Jeremiah Libbee, has been discharged from the hospital. We anticipate additional information will be released in the coming days as the investigation progresses.

The earlier media release is below.

# # #

Pursuit Leads to Crash into Gales Creek, Water Rescue of Passenger

Videos and photos of the scene are available here (caution for language).

February 15, 2019 -- On Friday, February 15, 2019, at 8:14 a.m., a North Plains Police Officer saw a car driving recklessly at a high rate of speed on Highway 26 westbound near Northwest Glencoe Road. The officer tried to pull the car over but the driver, later identified as 23-year-old Jeremiah Libbee of Hillsboro, did not stop. The pursuit went from Highway 26 and then west on Highway 6.

Near the intersection of Highway 6 and Northwest Gales Creek Road, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy set up spike strips. The deputy saw Mr. Libbee was sideways in the on-coming lane of traffic at a high rate of speed. The deputy was attempting to remove the spike strips from Mr. Libbee’s path because the car was out of control, but Mr. Libbee drove over the spike strips before the deputy could get out of his way.

Mr. Libbee then crashed over a steep embankment, hit a large tree, and landed 20 feet below in Gales Creek. The violent crash heavily damaged the car and officers saw Mr. Libbee was being washed hundreds of yards down the fast-flowing creek before emergency responders were able to pull him out. Mr. Libbee was taken to a Portland hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Officers also saw there was an adult woman trapped in the front seat of the car. Because of the crash, she was pinned inside the car in the middle of the river. Emergency crews had to use a boat to hook tow cables to the car, in order to pull it out of the water so that she could be extricated. That complicated rescue effort involved dozens of people and took over an hour and a half to complete. At one point, the woman was underwater while trapped inside the car. She was taken to a Portland hospital with critical injuries.

The Oregon State Police responded to help with the crash investigation. The North Plains Police Department will continue the criminal investigation into the pursuit and any additional charges against Mr. Libbee. Multiple agencies were involved in helping rescue Mr. Libbee and his passenger from the river and the North Plains Police Department specifically wishes to thank the tow truck operators who worked together to pull the woman trapped in the car out of the river.

Attached Media Files: Jeremiah Libbee
Results: Deputies Conduct 370 Traffic Stops During Enhanced Patrols - 02/19/19

Between the dates of February 4 and February 17, 2019, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted 370 traffic stops during our enhanced seat belt patrols. In addition to issuing citations for drivers not wearing seatbelts, deputies also cited drivers for other issues related to driver safety.

Here’s a breakdown of what deputies found during the two week period:

  • 27 seat belt citations
  • 87 cell phone citations
  • 49 speed citations
  • 10 driving while suspended citations
  • 61 other citations
  • 1 DUII arrest
  • 2 wanted suspect arrests

The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit is dedicated to promoting and improving traffic safety through education, analysis, and enforcement. Learn more about the team:

www.co.washington.or.us/sheriff/fightingcrime/patrols/traffic-safety-unit.cfm

# # #

Deputies Conducting Enhanced Seat Belt Patrols in Early February

February 4, 2019 -- The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Oregon State Sheriff's Association (OSSA), will be joining other law enforcement agencies across the state to promote proper seat belt use and increase public safety.

Between the dates of February 4 and February 17, 2019, extra deputies will be on the roadways looking for vehicle occupants not wearing, or improperly using seat belts. They will also be checking for proper child safety seat use.

According to the NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death or disability in children from two to fourteen years of age. This number is due in large part to non-use, or improper use of seat belts and child safety seats. Proper seat belt and child restraint use is the number one way to prevent injury or death if you or your children are involved in a crash.

For safety belt systems, proper use means the lap belt must be placed low across the hips and the shoulder belt should cross the center of the chest over the collar bone. Belts should be free of slack and have no twists or knots. The shoulder belt should NOT be placed under the arm or behind the back; this can cause serious internal injuries or ejection in a crash.

Information regarding proper child safety seat use and local car seat clinics can be found at www.oregonimpact.org/.

The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit is dedicated to promoting and improving traffic safety through education, analysis, and enforcement. Learn more about the team:

www.co.washington.or.us/sheriff/fightingcrime/patrols/traffic-safety-unit.cfm

Attached Media Files: PDF of Media Release
Update: Investigation Continues Regarding Pursuit That Led to Gales Creek Water Rescue - 02/18/19

This information is being released by the Washington County Sheriff's Office on behalf of the North Plains Police Department, which is the lead agency for this investigation.

The North Plains Police Department continues to investigate Friday’s pursuit that ended with the water rescue from Gales Creek.

The rescued passenger is being identified as a 21-year-old Gaston woman. She is listed in stable condition at a Portland hospital. She is considered a victim in this ongoing investigation.

The suspect has been discharged from the hospital.

We anticipate additional information will be released in the coming days as the investigation progresses.

# # #

Pursuit Leads to Crash into Gales Creek, Water Rescue of Passenger

Videos and photos of the scene are available here (caution for language).

On Friday, February 15, 2019, at 8:14 a.m., a North Plains Police Officer saw a car driving recklessly at a high rate of speed on Highway 26 westbound near Northwest Glencoe Road. The officer tried to pull the car over but the driver, later identified as 23-year-old Jeremiah Libbee of Hillsboro, did not stop. The pursuit went from Highway 26 and then west on Highway 6.

Near the intersection of Highway 6 and Northwest Gales Creek Road, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy set up spike strips. The deputy saw Mr. Libbee was sideways in the on-coming lane of traffic at a high rate of speed. The deputy was attempting to remove the spike strips from Mr. Libbee’s path because the car was out of control, but Mr. Libbee drove over the spike strips before the deputy could get out of his way.

Mr. Libbee then crashed over a steep embankment, hit a large tree, and landed 20 feet below in Gales Creek. The violent crash heavily damaged the car and officers saw Mr. Libbee was being washed hundreds of yards down the fast-flowing creek before emergency responders were able to pull him out. Mr. Libbee was taken to a Portland hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Officers also saw there was an adult woman trapped in the front seat of the car. Because of the crash, she was pinned inside the car in the middle of the river. Emergency crews had to use a boat to hook tow cables to the car, in order to pull it out of the water so that she could be extricated. That complicated rescue effort involved dozens of people and took over an hour and a half to complete. At one point, the woman was underwater while trapped inside the car. She was taken to a Portland hospital with critical injuries.

The Oregon State Police responded to help with the crash investigation. The North Plains Police Department will continue the criminal investigation into the pursuit and any additional charges against Mr. Libbee. Multiple agencies were involved in helping rescue Mr. Libbee and his passenger from the river and the North Plains Police Department specifically wishes to thank the tow truck operators who worked together to pull the woman trapped in the car out of the river.

Scene photo
Scene photo
Man Dies Two Days After Single Vehicle Crash Into a Tree (Photo) - 02/17/19

On Friday, February 15, 2019, at 6 p.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a single vehicle crash at NW Bronson Road and NW Roseburg Terrace in the community of Bethany.  A witness reported seeing a car leave the road and hit a tree.  Responding emergency crews had to extricate the driver, 27-year-old Zachary Benjamin of Hillsboro.  Mr. Benjamin was taken to a Portland hospital with life-threatening injuries.  On Sunday, February 17, Mr. Benjamin died at the hospital.

The Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team responded to assist with the investigation.  Deputies do not yet have a suspected cause for the crash which remains under investigation.

Attached Media Files: Media Release , Scene photo