Court reverses Umatilla County man's police car ramming convictions

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed half a dozen convictions of a Umatilla County man, ruling that prosecutors improperly introduced prior bad acts to prove the man's identity.

Prosecutors say David Ray Arnold struck a police car in Pendleton in August 2011, crashed into a light pole and fled on foot.

It was similar to a 2007 incident, when Arnold rammed the same officer's police car, struck a telephone pole and fled on foot.

A Umatilla County judge says the crashing and fleeing was akin to "the mark of Zorro," and that the pattern was distinct enough to show the 31-year-old Arnold had a pattern of behavior.

But the appeals court disagreed Wednesday, saying that hitting a police car and fleeing is not a distinctive act.