Foggy morning U-turn smashes three cars, sends two people to hospital

Ice isn’t the only danger on winter mornings in outer East Portland. Find out why this particular smashup shut down NE 82nd Avenue for hours …

Power tools in hand, Portland Fire & Rescue crews start prying apart vehicles involved in this grinding collision. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

By David F. Ashton
Traffic came to a standstill before “rush hour” on December 8, when a driver decided to pull a U-turn at NE 82nd Avenue and Killingsworth Street – and collided with two other vehicles.

About 6:00 a.m., the driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee was heading west on NE Killingsworth Street before deciding he really wanted to go east, said Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King. “The Jeep Cherokee collided with Mitsubishi Gallant and Toyota Tundra truck.”

Firefighters use all of their skills – and tools – to free two badly injured trapped drivers. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“First arriving crews from were from Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Station 12 on NE Sandy Boulevard,” said Bureau spokesman Paul Corah. “Firefighters found three cars that had collided, with two people pinned within the cars.”

This discovery brought in additional fire trucks from other nearby fire stations– rigs that carry powerful, lightweight Holmatro Rescue Tools.

Officials say the driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee almost lost his life, in addition to the loss of his vehicle. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“Firefighters worked together to carefully extricate the drivers of two of the vehicles while administering life support medical care,” Corah told East Portland News.

“The driver of the smaller sedan had been pushed into the dashboard during the crash. Fire crews used Holmatro hydraulic spreaders, rams, and cutters to tear the car out from around the driver.”

Both trapped drivers were male, one being in his late 30s and the other driver being in his late 20s.

Firefighters set down their power rescue tools in the wreckage while they prepare the injured driver for transport. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“The drivers were entered into the trauma system with life threatening injuries, and transported to local area hospitals by AMR ambulances,” Corah added. “The third driver involved in the crash was treated at the scene and released.”

The Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team was on scene investigating the crash well into the morning. “After the investigation was completed, the driver of the Jeep was cited for Carless Driving, Driving while Suspended and No Insurance,” King told East Portland News. Officials have not yet released the cited driver’s name.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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