Improperly-passing driver plows down power pole on SE Holgate

It looked as if this driver tried to pass a stopped bus – by bouncing up on the sidewalk to pass on the right. Officials say, he apparently hit the gas instead of the brake. See why it was fortunate no one was killed …

Witnesses say they can’t figure out why the driver gunned his engine – and tried to pass the stopped TriMet bus – on the right!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There weren’t any serious injuries in a bizarre wreck that took out a utility pole in the 6400 block of SE Holgate Boulevard on November 3. But, the accident totaled one car and damaged a truck.

Once on-scene, we learned that an eastbound TriMet bus stopped to take on passengers just after 10:30 a.m. Witness Bill Farr told us, “I was stopped behind the bus. The driver of a red car in front of me was impatient, he pulled out and passed the bus. Then, this other car drove off the street, right beside the pickup, and took out the pole.”

Was this driver trying to pass on the right – using the sidewalk? That’s what it certainly looked like, to witnesses.

Roof rack saves passenger
“We were stopped behind the bus,” said eyewitness Ilia Morozov. “In my mirror, I saw a car driving quickly up. Before he hit our truck, went like he was going to pass our truck and the bus on the right side. But there is no lane – just curb, and grass, and sidewalk. He ran right into the pole.”

Morozov said when the utility pole toppled; it landed on his truck “My dad ducked down, like the pole would crush us. But the roof rack on our truck saved us.”

Although the accident looks serious, no one was injured, police say.

Driver confuses car’s controls
The official word on the wreck came from Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Brian Schmautz. “The collision occurred when 81-year-old Norbert Paul Kent inadvertently applied the accelerator instead of the brake as he approached some vehicles stopped for a TriMet bus.”

To avoid the stopped vehicles, Schmautz added, Kent drove up onto the sidewalk. He missed the first car but sideswiped the second and then hit a pole on the sidewalk.

“Kent was cited for Careless Driving. No one was injured in the collision.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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