Dual Division St. wrecks slay two pedestrians

Here’s what happened on SE Division Street, two hours and 3.4 miles apart, when two pedestrians died in separate accidents …

Two auto vs. pedestrian crashes on the same night prove deadly, in the Centennial and Montavilla neighborhoods.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a tragic night for accidents in which automobile drivers struck pedestrians along S.E. Division Street on December 7.

The first occurred at S.E. 156th Avenue, and the next about sixty blocks west of that location, and two hours later, near S.E. 87th Avenue.

Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officers examine the car believed to be involved in the accident.

The first incident began in the Centennial neighborhood when  police were called to the 15600 block of S.E. Division Street on a report that a driver in a red Honda sedan, apparently westbound, had struck a pedestrian in the roadway.

When paramedics couldn’t revive the victim, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers called in the PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team to investigate.

Near the pedestrian crossing on Division, an officer looks for evidence after the crash.

“It looked to me like the man was crossing [Division Street] in the crosswalk, when the red car hit him, and threw him quite a ways,” commented Etta Marley, who told East Portland News that she’d witnessed the incident “out the corner of her eye” as she walked home from the bus stop.

PPB Major Crash Team members set up their Total Station surveying instrument to collect data for accident reconstruction.

Police Bureau officials haven’t provided additional information about this crash, other than to say the incident is still under investigation.

Pedestrian killed dashing across street in Montavilla

Another segment of S.E. Division Street is closed, this time in the Montavilla neighborhood, when another pedestrian is hit by a car and killed.

That same evening, about 60 blocks to the west at 9:04 p.m., East Precinct and Traffic Division officers were called to the area of S.E. 87th Avenue and Division where the westbound driver of a Mercury Cougar struck a pedestrian in the street.

“Medical efforts to save the pedestrian’s life were not successful and he died at the scene,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Officers examine the vehicle reportedly involved in the second such accident on Division that evening.

“The male driver remained at the scene, and has been cooperative with investigators,” Simpson added.

The following day, Simpson stated that the pedestrian killed identified as 65-year-old Rohgzhao Zhang of Southeast Portland. “Traffic Division Investigators believe he was walking home from work at a nearby restaurant at the time of the crash,” he said.

Officers investigate the crime scene after a man, said to have walked into the street instead of using a nearby crosswalk, was struck and killed,

“Investigators learned that Zhang was crossing Division Street from the North to the South, approximately ½ block from a controlled, lighted crosswalk,” Simpson said. “The vehicle was driving westbound when Zhang stepped into traffic and in front of vehicle.”

The Cougar’s driver, 19-year-old Ryan Moore of Southeast Portland, “did not display any signs of impairment, and there was no evidence of distracted driving,” Simpson added.

A PPB Criminalist photographs the car involved in the second crash.

Both investigations are continuing and, once completed, will be presented to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

These were the 39th and 40th traffic fatalities in the City of Portland in 2016.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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