There are two things to keep in mind as you watch this mildly humorous chain of collisions that recently happened in Pendleton, Oregon. The first – and most important – is that nobody was hurt in this comedic melee of machinery. The second is that it's not entirely the fault of the local police. Or is it?
Here's what we know, according to East Oregonian. On December 5, police in Pendleton were busy responding to numerous crashes amid a modest snowfall in the area. On a particularly slippery hill, a Ford Explorer police cruiser became one of those statistics as it slid down the shoulder of the road. The patrol SUV was apparently parked with nobody inside as it slowly drifted into a boat on a trailer, which then bumped into a full-size Ford pickup truck.
Here's where things go completely off the rails, as the TikTok video embedded above clearly shows. The big F-Series doesn't slide down the hill, it freewheels. It's unknown what happened – perhaps the collision broke the park lock in the transmission, or if it was a manual, it could've been knocked out of gear. In any case, the parking brake definitely wasn't set and as a result, the pickup rolls down the hill as fast as gravity allows.
The video shows at least four subsequent collisions between the Ford and other vehicles. Or rather, we can hear four crashes. A Ram pickup is the first victim, followed by an older Jeep Grand Cherokee. A third vehicle we can't identify is glimpsed briefly, after which we hear another collision. Actually, it's possible the Ford and the Ram hit the Jeep, but it's pretty much a moot point.
Now, back to our original question. Yes, the sliding police vehicle initiated this entire sequence of events. However, numerous commenters on the TikTok video point out the freewheeling F-Series, which certainly wouldn't have coasted if the parking brake had been set. It also wouldn't have picked up so much speed if the front wheels had been turned toward the curb. Setting a parking brake and turning the wheels curbside are common safety practices when parking on a hill, snowcovered or otherwise. Should the owner of the white truck shoulder some of the blame here?
Aside from the police officer on the left of the video looking a bit distraught, there were no reports of injuries or human-related ills, so that's good news. The bad news is that, after surviving Winter Storm Diaz, a large swath of the Midwest states could be hit with a second blizzard just before Christmas. That means more slippery hills and potentially dangerous driving conditions, so stay safe out there and relax at home with the Rambling About Cars podcast, available below.