‘Flying van’ causes 4-car smashup in Woodstock

It’s hard to believe that everyone walked away from this accident caused by a driver who witnesses say ran a red light …

This accident closed down the intersection of SE 52nd Ave. and Woodstock Blvd. for hours.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From his home, two blocks away from the intersection of SE 52nd Ave. and Woodstock Blvd., Neil Paulson says he heard “a crash that sounded like something big running through a metal building.”

Paulson is one of many bystanders who tried to make sense of the scene that included four badly-smashed vehicles at this major intersection on Thursday, August 9.

Talking with numerous witnesses helped us learn how this intersection-closing wreck took place:

A gold Saturn, eastbound on SE Woodstock Boulevard, was preparing to turn north on SE 52nd Avenue on a green light.

A white Subaru, facing northbound on SE 52nd Ave., was stopped at a red light in the left-turn lane, waiting to turn west on SE Woodstock Boulevard.

And, a white Dodge Sprinter van southbound on SE 52nd Avenue was approaching at red light at SE Woodstock Boulevard at a high rate of speed.

“We’re walking up to this corner by Arby’s,” says witness Stella Vegay. “The van was coming really fast. It went through a red light and hit the gold car in the intersection. That made it fly into the air and roll over – right into the white car.”

Although paramedics say his injuries didn’t look traumatic, the driver of the Saturn is taken by ambulance for medical evaluation.

Sees van flying sideways at her
The driver of the Subaru declined to give us her name, but described the accident from her point of view. “I really can’t say exactly what happened. I was stopped at the [red] light. I look up and this big van is up in the air, wheels off the ground, and flying sideways right at me.”

The force of the impact a moment later was so great, it drove her car – and the Jeep behind it – back about 30 feet.

While Portland Fire & Rescue Station 25 personnel checked out the accident victims for injuries, we noticed a man wearing a shirt imprinted with the name “Intrepid Marble and Granite”, apparently the driver of the van that ran the light, telling police he’s leaving the scene. An officer requests he instead wait in the back of his patrol car.

A young lady arrives on scene and inquires about the accident. “That’s our truck. My dad’s the owner of the company; he sent me to see what happened,” she says. “He’s very upset. This isn’t good.”

Surprisingly, although the Saturn’s driver was taken to the hospital for evaluation, all persons involved in this accident were able to walk away from their vehicles.

The driver of the Subaru who saw the van “flying sideways at her” collects her personal items from her wrecked car.

Because there were no trauma injuries resulting from the accident, police say it won’t be investigated.

But an officer does say he’s “pretty sure” the van driver will receive a ticket for running a red light.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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