My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Oregon
My boyfriend who is on parole for a few more months got in an accident the other night. He swerved to avoid hitting a cat and ended up in a ditch/grazing a tree, resulting in minor damage to his vehicle. No other car, person, or property was hit to his knowledge. He did not immediately leave the scene, but after assessing the damage to his car he determined there was nothing preventing him from driving it, nor was there any damage he needed to report. He went home. When he got there, cops were there. He lives in a halfway house so he assumed it was for one of the other guys who are constantly in trouble. The cops saw him park his car and didn’t say anything when he went into the house. One of his housemates then told him the cops were there about a car matching the color and make of his being in an accident. Since the cops had seen him park and didn’t say anything to him, he figured they were not looking for him necessarily. He went to bed. The cops talking to his housemate asked about him, and they gave the cops his number. They left him a message saying to call the non-emergency number as soon as he could. He did everything he could to try to get ahold of the deputy he needed to talk to. When he got off work he went to work on his car so it would be legal to drive (there had been damage to the blinker). His roommate called him later to tell him the cop was at his house. He talked to the cop and told him he was on his way. The cop said he mowed down a mailbox. Parolee asked if he was going to get arrested and the cop said “we’ll see how the car looks.” Sure enough, he got arrested. Charged with hit and run and reckless driving.
This is all of the information I have, and I have no reason to believe it is inaccurate or incomplete. However, this is just very bizarre to me. Why did they arrest him? I have looked at the statutes over and over again, and even if he had KNOWINGLY damaged the mailbox, there is no way the damage to that or his car could be enough ($1500+, according to the statutes) to need to report it. No one was injured, and, again, to his knowledge, he did not hit anyone's property. I am not saying he didn't hit the mailbox, but I know that if he had realized it, he would have rectified the situation. He had nothing to fear or to lose (he thought), hence why he went out of his way to talk to the police.
I also am wondering what his rights are in terms of finding out if someone called it in or if a cop saw him. He had no reason to flee if he had known he caused damage, as he has insurance and was not driving drunk or anything. I talked to him right after it happened, and it did not occur to either of us, or my mom who was with me, that he would need to report this. The cops’ slowness made us figure it was definitely not anything serious, so we were pretty shocked he got arrested.