High-speed car-into-tree wreck claims a life in Mill Park

Officials aren’t sure who was driving – but the result of this single-vehicle accident was, nevertheless, deadly …

Police shut down SE Market Street, from SE 109th Avenue to SE 112th/Cherry Blossom Drive, while they investigate a single-car crash that proved deadly.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Four young people were out for a Saturday evening ride on February 16 that ended very badly. The silver 2000 Volvo C70 convertible, in which they were cruising westbound on SE Market Street, crashed into trees just east of SE Madison Drive in the Mill Park neighborhood.

“We’d just gotten home, about 8:30 p.m.,” said outer East Portland neighbor Patricia Schneller, as she looked at the wreckage strewn about her front lawn and sidewalk. “Even though we pull the shades down on the front room, you can still hear cars – especially speeders – race down the street.

“About ten minutes after we arrived, we heard – well, it sounded like a bomb going off,” Schneller told East Portland News. “There was no sound before it happened, just a huge explosion that shook the house. My son and I both leaped out of our chairs and came out to see what had happened. We didn’t go out – we called 9-1-1.”

An ambulance arrives on scene, ready to take a critically injured woman to the hospital.

It occurred without any sound previous to the crash, she added. “No skidding, no screeching, nothing. It sounded like a bomb exploded.”

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct District officers rushed to the 11100 block of SE Market Street after her report of the single-car crash into the tree, confirmed PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

This is the chicane the driver failed to negotiate, before the car left the road …

… and crashed through this tree, sending it skidding and rolling.

“Investigators learned that the vehicle was traveling westbound on SE Market Street and failed to negotiate a slight left-then-right-turn chicane in the roadway,” Simpson reported.

The homeowner continued, “The driver took out all of my shrubs on the tree lawn – and was still going so fast that she hit the tree hard, snapping it off and flipping it over in the air. The car must’ve tumbled, spun, and rolled, leaving parts and debris from here all the way down the next block,” remarked Schneller.

“The car’s engine landed on the sidewalk, across the street,” Schneller went on. “We heard people shouting and yellin, that they were afraid that she was not living.”

As the out-of-control Volvo rolls, it leaves gashes in the pavement.

The woman to whom the homeowner was referring was later identified as 20-year-old Marissa Ann Conklin. “She was critically injured in the traffic crash, and was transported to an area hospital,” Simpson confirmed.

Ms. Conklin was ejected from the vehicle and came to rest approximately 70 feet away from the snapped-off tree, Simpson explained.

“Two other people in the car remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators,” Simpson said. “They have been identified as 18-year-old Eric Manuel Tarasov and 17-year-old Davontay Mosley. They did not require medical attention.”

But, a fourth person riding in the car fled the scene before officers arrived, added Simpson. “It is not known if he had any role in the crash.”

This street-side informal memorial marks the area where 20-year-old Marissa Ann Conklin was thrown from the car, later dying from her injuries.

Area media reported that Conklin died of her injuries at OHSU Sunday afternoon, February 17.

“We’ve lived here since the house was built – for 53 years,” mid-County resident Schneller said. “We’ve seen a lot of things; but this is the first time we’ve seen such a horrible result. I’m still shaking from the experience.”

As of this writing, just who was driving the vehicle remains unclear.

Anyone with information about this crash or the identity of the missing fourth person is asked to contact Officer Chris Johnson at (503) 823-2213.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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