Close-call truck crash shocks kickball players in Lents Park

See why these teammates say they had to jump to safety, when an SUV interrupted a “calm” afternoon game of kickball …

A police officer checks on the woman driving this SUV, just moments after it crashed into a tree in Lents Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It wasn’t the siren yelps blasting from approaching emergency vehicles that startled members of a Northwest Kickball team about Sunday, May 6 about 4:30 p.m. who were seated at the north edge of Lents Park along SE Holgate Boulevard. They were already startled!

“It sounded like a ‘screech, crash and a kaboom!’ right behind us,” said an ear-witness, who declined to give her name. “We were just sitting here, watching the game with our back to the trees, and suddenly – boom! This truck smashed into the tree. We looked around, and there it was!”

A paramedic joins the officer as they evaluate the driver’s medical condition.

Another player observed that if it hadn’t been for the huge tree in the way, on the north edge of the park, they most likely would have been hit and seriously injured by the errant vehicle.

Circumstances surrounding the crash still remain unclear, but the wreck on eastbound SE Holgate Boulevard at SE 91st Avenue left a dark green Nissan Pathfinder firmly smashed into the trunk of a tree. Under the SUVs front tires was a flattened metal street signpost.

Had it not been for this tree, kickball players sitting just feet away from it say they might have been seriously injured when the SUV swerved across the sidewalk and into the park.

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct district officers quickly responded and blocked traffic, as an ambulance and Portland Fire & Rescue rig also rolled up to the crash site.

It appeared as if the vehicle had been occupied just by an older female driver; and, although the crash looked brutal, it wasn’t severe enough to cause the airbags to deploy.

According to Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Paul Corah, the driver was treated on scene by paramedics and released.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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