Sheriff: Hood to Coast runner charged with DUII after stealing truck, driving over runner

David Blackmon, 36 (Photo provided by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office). 

Sheriff's deputies say a man is facing DUII and assault charges after stealing a truck and driving over a Hood to Coast runner resting in a field.

The man, 36-year-old David Jon Blackmon of Bend, was also running the Hood to Coast relay when around 2 AM Saturday, deputies say he stole a pickup truck belonging to a portable restroom company.

The truck had been servicing portable units in the Birkenfeld area (Exchange 24 of the relay) in Columbia County.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says Blackmon didn't make it very far in the stolen truck, but drove it through a nearby field where runners were resting. Deputies say three of the resting runners were able to jump out of the way, but one woman, Cynthia Gillespie of Canby, Oregon, was not able to do so and was run over and dragged a short distance before the truck stopped, resting on her leg.

The original driver of the truck confronted Blackmon after chasing down the vehicle, but Blackmon reportedly ran into the woods nearby, fleeing the scene.

Oregon State Police responded to assist the Columbia County Sheriff's Office in the search for Blackmon. A K-9 found him in the woods a while later.

Once Blackmon was identified by the truck's assigned driver, deputies say he was taken into custody and lodged in the Columbia County Jail on charges of second-degree assault, reckless driving, reckless endangering, driving while revoked, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Gillespie was transported to OHSU, where she was treated and reported later to be released with only minor injuries.

The 36th Annual Hood to Coast Relay started at Timberline Lodge. Around 12,600 runners registered for the legendary race, which Hood to Coast says is the longest relay in the world. Teams of runners are expected to finish the relay in Seaside Saturday.

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