Church at the Park is running a managed camp at the Oregon State Fairgrounds that started Feb. 1. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)
A Salem social service agency fired a shuttle driver following an off-duty crash last month that injured a pedestrian and lead police to accuse her of having meth at the time.
Kelly Michelle Teves, 49, of Salem, had been a driver for the homeless service provider Church at the Park for three months, shuttling unhoused people to camping at the Oregon State Fairgrounds or a downtown women’s shelter.
Pastor D.J. Vincent said Church at the Park employs three drivers.
Vincent said half of Church at the Park’s 60 employees are unsheltered. He said staff perform background checks to determine if they have a criminal record and require random drug testing of them about once a quarter.
“That means we need to respond when people make the wrong choices,” Vincent said.
Church at the Park is running Pavilion at the fairgrounds with $352,000 from the city of Salem and $250,000 from the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency.
According to a Salem Police Department probable cause statement, Teves on Feb. 22 was driving her own car on Mission Street near Church Street when she swerved off the road and onto the sidewalk. The statement said she struck Salem lawyer David Runner, who suffered a head injury.
“David had no memory of the crash or what he was doing on the sidewalk and likely received a concussion,” according to the statement by Officer Gary Engler.
The hospital reported Runner was in stable condition after the crash, the statement said.
Engler said that Teves told officers she swerved to avoid a squirrel. She had “red watery eyes, droopy eyelids and constricted pupils,” the statement said.
Teves told Engler she smoked meth the previous day, according to the statement.
Engler reported finding 14 grams of methamphetamine inside a backpack from Teves’s car and that she denied was hers.
She was subsequently charged with methamphetamine delivery, driving under the influence of intoxicants, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving. She was released from the Marion County Jail on Feb. 28. She is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
Teves didn’t respond to a call or text seeking comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
Vincent said Teves was drug tested in February and passed. He said there were no incidents with her driving while she was transporting people.
Vincent said there are systems at the service provider to check on those struggling with addiction and managers are trained to look for signs of people relapsing.
“If someone seems like they’re relapsing, we’re pulling them off the job,” he said.
He said drivers may need to be tested monthly instead of quarterly.
“We’re open to making every possible precaution possible,” he said.
Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]
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