Dual smashups choke freeway traffic as October starts

Here’s why traffic was running slow on I-205 on this beautiful, sunny day …

Traffic stops on northbound I-205 when a mid-day crash brings out emergency responders.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Typical early afternoon Tuesday traffic along the Interstate 205 Freeway in outer East Portland flows smoothly – unless a wreck or police action slows the flow of vehicles.

But, October 1, two wrecks – less than a mile apart – caused cars and trucks to come to a complete halt, in the Gateway area. And, it wasn’t bad weather that contributed to these two smashups.

The fresh tire tracks leading into the guardrail and back into traffic indicates that a vehicle bounced off it, and back into traffic.

The result: two wrecked cars, and a dented truck.

Truck, cars tangle
From what officials told East Portland News, the first wreck occurred on northbound I-205 about 1:10 p.m. just south of the E. Burnside Street Overpass.

“It looked like that traffic was slowing down, and a car cut in front of a box truck,” said Jose Garza-Ortega, who said he witnessed the accident from the Multi-Use Path.

“The car swerved and hit the center guard rail, really hard,” Garza-Ortega continued. “The car bounced back into the traffic, and hit a truck and car.”

Firefighters/Paramedics work inside the car, preparing to remove a victim.

At first, it appeared as if a victim in one of the cars was pinned in. But the crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 7 was able to open the doors without using power tools, and remove the injured people.

The truck, operated by CEVA Logistics appeared to have sustained minimal damage.

Now strapped to a gurney, this victim is about to be loaded into a waiting AMR ambulance.

A second victim is loaded into another ambulance at the scene.

One, then another, ambulance was called to the scene. Two victims were transported to local hospitals; their conditions have not been disclosed.

What was known is that traffic stacked up, back to Oregon City, for about three hours.

The official cause of this crash has not yet been released; the investigation is continuing.

This jackknifed rig slows traffic merging with southbound I-205.

Southbound truck jackknifes
At first, some of the emergency responders the first crash were puzzled, because they heard a 9-1-1 dispatch for a “jackknifed truck” on the I-205 freeway.

This accident occurred within moments of the first – but it turned out to be southbound, on the ramp from the Banfield Freeway east transitioning to I-205 south.

Trying to avoid stopped traffic is the likely reason this semi rig jackknifed.

At the gore point that splits the NE Glisan Street exit ramp and the freeway onramp, a FunTastic Shows tractor had jackknifed so it was facing backward beside its load, a “Light House Sleeping Quarters” semitrailer.

The driver wasn’t injured, emergency responders said.

Traffic backs out on southbound I-205, and continues back on the eastbound Banfield Freeway while workers try to clear the jackknifed trailer.

While the southbound lanes of I-205 were not affected, vehicles intending to use the NE Glisan Street exit ramp were forced onto the freeway, slowing down the flow traffic. This, plus the gawkers, backed up traffic all the way to the Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge.

Watch out, and drive safely!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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