Carelessly crossing Division leads to elderly man’s demise

See why this tragic accident shut down SE Division Street in the Centennial Community Association for hours …

Investigators from the Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team gather evidence concerning this accident at SE 168th and Division Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers got a call about an accident involving a vehicle and a man in a wheelchair, at about 9:30 p.m. on July 29, they rushed to the scene.

The police found a tragic situation had occurred on SE Division Street, just east of SE 168th Avenue – a man lay dead in the street.

As we traveled to the accident scene, the Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team van passed us, traveling eastward with emergency lights flashing and its siren sounding.

Police shut down all traffic on SE Division Street for several blocks in either direction, while they made their investigation.

“The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and cooperated fully with police,” reported PPB spokesperson, Detective Mary Wheat.

Major Crash Team members were taking measurements, talking with witnesses, and writing notes, when we arrived.

Investigators work to determine the cause of this accident.

The day following the accident, Wheat stated, “The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the man was operating a mobility scooter at the time of the accident. Investigators believe that he was moving northbound, attempting to cross SE Division Street, when he was struck by a vehicle driving westbound on Division. Investigators have determined that the deceased male, identified as 67-year-old Richard Nordby, crossed diagonally against the signal, and that the driver of the vehicle had the right of way.”

The driver of the vehicle has been identified as 23-year-old Victor Arechiga Coronado of Portland, Wheat added. “The driver cooperated fully with police and was not cited.”

It was determined, officials say, this terrible accident could have been avoided if traffic rules were followed.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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