Local & Regional
PORTLAND, Ore. - A man looking forward to an early-morning fishing outing on the Willamette River with friends is instead looking at some big repair and towing bills when the SUV he was driving rolled down a boat ramp and into the water.
Even worse: it's not his SUV.
The incident took place at about 5 a.m. at the Cathedral Park boat ramp, located near the St. Johns Bridge.
Scott Chauvet said he had to use the bathroom after drinking some coffee on the way to the St. Johns area. "And there's really nowhere to stop," he said. "So as soon as I got down here, I stopped at the top of the ramp, jumped out to run over to those bushes."
And moments later, Chauvet said he saw the Suburban "barreling into the water." Chauvet was not towing a boat.
"I know I didn't set a parking brake...you know, it's like, I was in a hurry!" he said.
The Suburban rolled down the ramp, went into the water and started to float away before Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputies said it came to rest on some old pilings.
No one else was in the Suburban and no injuries were reported.
The SUV's owner, Steve Jarvis, showed up later and said he thinks the Suburban is insured and it only has about 7,000 miles on it. "I've never even had a claim before. Nothing like this," he said as crews struggled to pull it from the water.
Jarvis said he held no ill will against Chauvet. "Scott's just had a rough year. We'll get him through it," he said.
Chauvet said his fishing buddy eventually showed up and after checking in, went fishing without him.
A laptop computer in the Suburban was also recovered, albeit a bit wet. Other fishermen spotted Chauvet's cooler in the water and returned it to him.
Deputies assisted at the scene and said no citations were issued and the boat ramp remains open. There was no immediate damage estimate for the vehicle.