Another crash in Gateway proves need for red-light cameras

Some drivers grumble about the camera systems that automatically generate traffic tickets for red-light-runners. Here’s another reason you’ll soon be seeing such systems in outer East Portland‚

Witnesses say the driver of this silver Mazda (foreground) blew through the red light at SE 103rd Avenue, and struck the green Toyota Camry with such impact, it was spun around facing west on SE Washington Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
According to Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officials, automatic camera systems designed to catch motorists who speed through red lights will soon be installed in outer East Portland.

Between assignments, we heard a police radio call on July 21, saying a car was hit broadside at SE Washington St at SE 103rd Avenue. We drove over to take a look.

Witnesses told us they saw a silver Mazda, heading eastbound on SE Washington Street, shoot through the red light at SE 103rd Avenue at about 11:45 a.m.

“It looked like Mazda’s driver stepped on the gas,” reported Becky Holsted who said she was waiting for a bus as the event unfolded. “The silver car smacked right into the side of the Camry. It was going north on SE 103rd Avenue on a green light.”

Because one driver took a risk and blew a red light, another driver was sent to the hospital and his car was demolished. Police say this is a high price to pay for trying to arrive at your destination a few seconds earlier.

The T-boned Camry was hit so hard, it spun 90-degrees, coming to rest facing westbound in the eastbound lanes of SE Washington Street. The driver was injured; the side-impact victim was put on a backboard and rushed to Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Cops say red-light cameras save lives
Preparing a story we’ll publishing soon about the new “red light cameras”, we spoke with Sergeant Dan Costello of the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division.

“The most serious crashes that occur at intersections are caused by someone running a red light,” Costello told us. These ‘turning and angle crashes’ are 2.5 times more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than rear-end crashes. Adding more cameras will further decrease these types of crashes,” said Costello.

In this area of the Gateway district, Costello said the city in the process of installing the red-light camera systems at SE Stark St. at 99th Avenue (19 red light crashes in the past year) and at SE Stark Street at 102nd Avenuie (due to 44 red light crashes).

“No matter how pressed for time you are, please stop for red lights,” commented the Portland City Commissioner in charge of PDOT, Sam Adams. “Gambling on saving a minute or two by running a red light could kill or seriously injure you and someone else. Red-light-running has very serious consequences.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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