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A man pulling his Jeep Cherokee into his driveway area at the top of SW Abbey this afternoon suddenly found himself clutching his steering wheel during what was a horrific plunge past his lawn and over the side of a steep hill that overlooks the Bayfront.
Jim Ware pulled up outside his house at 1205 SW Abbey and was letting his wife out when suddenly his engine roared and lurched forward and down the hill. His wife was left standing there in wide-eyed horror, watching her husband and the Jeep disappear straight down into the woods.
Ware said he had a death-grip on the wheel and a full press on the brake all the way down. He said all he could see was small trees and brush parting and laying down in front of his grill. He said the vehicle finally came to rest against either thick brush or a small tree.
One police officer who had heard the incident from down on the Bayfront had quickly figured out where the vehicle might be and climbed into the area to see if anyone was hurt. He found Ware still in the vehicle. By then he had the engine off. Other officers and firefighters pulled up at the ILWU Union Hall off Canyon Drive and helped walked him down the rest of the hill to Canyon Street below.
Upon Jim Ware returning home, he and his wife embranced on the spot where it all started, so grateful that they both came through the ordeal okay. Mr. Ware told his wife he believes the problem was the cruise control – that it had been acting funny on a return trip from Portland a few days ago.
Police said that they listed the cause as unknown. No citations were issued.
Coast Towing was given the job of either pulling it back up the hillside or guiding it further down hill to where they could get it hooked to a tow truck near the ILWU Union Hall on Canyon.