A fight between two groups of people early Saturday morning ended with one man allegedly run over and sent to a Portland hospital and a woman cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Chester Freeman, of Pendleton, was taken by ambulance to St. Anthony Hospital and later transferred to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said he suffered a skull fracture and brain bleed.
OHSU said he was in fair condition Tuesday morning.
In connection with Freeman's injury, Crystal McKee, of Pendleton, was cited for a DUII.
But the case is not a simple one, Roberts said.
It began after midnight, Saturday morning, in Crabby's Underground Saloon & Dance Hall.
"Some altercation started near the dance floor with a male and female," Roberts said.
From there, the altercation went into the street as one group of four people - which included McKee, her husband and the husband's friend - tried to leave the area.
Roberts said a group of five people that included Freeman pursued the other four.
The group of four got into a pickup parked in front of U.S. Bank on First Street, Roberts said. McKee, who drove the pickup, pulled onto First Street to the light at the corner of First and Court Avenue, Roberts said. At that time of night, the light blinks red, so McKee stopped the pickup.
Roberts said that's when the other group began attacking the pickup.
"They were hitting the pickup, acting disorderly," Roberts said.
The attacking group managed to get the passenger side door open on the pickup and Roberts described them as "swinging wildly" inside the cab.
"While this is going on, the driver's panicked," Roberts said of McKee. "When she finally does accelerate, the 'victim' was either in the back of the pickup or in the front of the cab assaulting occupants."
With so many people involved, Roberts said there are conflicting stories and investigators are trying to determine exactly where Freeman was when McKee accelerated.
Either way, Roberts said, police believe the back tires of the truck ran over Freeman.
Roberts said McKee stopped immediately, as soon as she realized she'd run someone over. But when she did, the crowd surged at the truck again, so she drove about a block away and pulled over to call police.
"If you look at the overall scenario, it's not a hit and run because she did exactly what she's required to do by law," Roberts said. "Anybody given her circumstances would have done the same thing."
One officer was at the police station less than a block away and responded immediately. Others arrived quickly. An ambulance arrived, transporting Freeman to the hospital. Police worked to separate witnesses and talk to the people involved.
"A number of people refused to talk to us and just left," Roberts said. "But for the most part people were cooperative and made statements."
Police determined McKee was impaired, so they cited her with a DUII. No other charges against her have been filed.
Roberts described McKee as regretful of the incident.
"There certainly wasn't any malice on her part," he said.
Pendleton Police will continue investigating the case through the rest of the week. Police are conducting follow-up interviews and sorting out stories.