Cops: Ore. dad arrested after driving 109 mph with kids in back seat

WOODBURN, Ore. - A Tigard, Ore. father was arrested after he drove recklessly on Interstate 5 at speeds as high as 109 mph with his 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter in the back seat, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

The children's mother was a passenger in car.

Jeff Lyell Bankston, 24, was driving a Subaru Impreza southbound on I-5 Sunday afternoon when he passed a sheriff's deputy in an unmarked patrol car. Bankston passed the deputy at a high speed and changed lanes erratically, tailgating other vehicles until they moved out of the way, according to sheriff's office spokesman Don Thomson.

"As the Subaru passed vehicles, the startled drivers instinctively stepped on their brakes nearly causing several chain-reaction crashes," Thomson said in a news release.

When the deputy pulled behind the Subaru, Bankston suddenly slowed down and sped up several times, "as though challenging the unmarked patrol Mustang to a race," said Thomson. Bankston sped away at 109 mph.

The deputy stopped Bankston near Keizer and saw the kids in the car as we walked up to the vehicle. The 5-year-old boy was sitting in the middle of the back seat without a seat belt. The 2-year-old girl was in a car seat, but "was improperly secured in the seat in a manner that made the seat belts totally ineffective," said Thomson.

When asked why he was driving so fast, the the deputy said Bankston replied that he recently installed a turbo-charger in the car, which boosted the car's power to nearly 350 horsepower.

The deputy arrested Bankston for reckless driving and reckless endangerment. He also cited Bankston for several driving and seat belt violations.

The children were released to their mother.