(ABC News) The Oregon teen who was arrested after he posted a ‘Drivin drunk' status update on his Facebook page New Year's Day says it was all a misunderstanding.
Jacob Cox-Brown, 18, of Astoria, Ore., about 100 miles west of Portland, was with friends when, police say, he posted the status update on his Facebook page: “Drivin drunk… classsic 😉 but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P”
In an interview with ABC affiliate KATU-TV in Portland, Cox-Brown says the post was meant as a joke. But his friends who spotted the update didn't see the humor behind it. Instead, one friend sent a private message to an Astoria police officer's personal Facebook account while another friend called police Sgt. Brian Aydt.
“When you post ‘Drivin drunk… classsic 😉 but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P' on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long,” Brad Johnston, Astoria deputy chief of police, said in a news release. “Astoria Police have an active social media presence.”
Johnston told ABCNews.com that Cox-Brown's friend sent the Facebook message to officer Nicole Riley's personal Facebook account.
At about 1 a.m. New Year's Day, officer Riley received a call reporting a hit-and-run crash in Astoria. When officers Riley and Matt Clausen arrived to the scene, they found a white Scion car had been sideswiped, leaving behind car debris, police said. Clausen collected multiple pieces of plastic from the taillight and bumper cover.
Police say a second car parked in front of the Scion was also damaged. At the time, Astoria PD had no idea who hit the cars that belonged to people attending a party, officials said.
Later the same day, Riley received the private Facebook message from someone reporting that they had seen Cox-Brown's post that he had been in a car crash. Police Sgt. Aydt also received a call from another “friend” of Cox-Brown's claiming he also saw Cox-Brown post the status.
Astoria PD released a statement saying, “Aydt and Clausen went to Cox-Brown's house and found a vehicle that matched the damage done to the two vehicles at the early morning crash.”
“It's one of those six degrees of separation kind of things,” deputy chief of police Johnston told ABCNews.com. “The officer's brother was at the party at the time of the crash.”
During the interview with KATU-TV, Cox-Brown said he had hit the car as he drove by as a result of icy conditions on the street and not because he was driving drunk.
Cox-Brown has not responded to requests for comment.
Astoria PD arrested Cox-Brown and charged him with two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver.
He is scheduled to appear in the Astoria Municipal Court Jan. 23.
Police didn't know whether Cox-Brown has an attorney.