Maywood Park crash believed caused by teen’s ‘GPS blindness’

If you use a GPS system to guide your way – here’s a short cautionary tale about how your electronic guidance system could lead you into real trouble …

Sheriff’s deputies believe that this smash-up was caused by the driver looking at his GPS, instead of the roadway. MCSO photo

By David F. Ashton
While some folks don’t think of Multnomah County Sheriff’s (MCSO) deputies as “patrol cops”, they do provide law enforcement for the City of Maywood Park – a small city nestled up in the northeast corner of I-205 and I-84’s convergence.

Making rounds in the early morning hours of November 23, a MCSO deputy made an odd discovery: A disabled vehicle facing northbound in the southbound lanes of NE 102nd Avenue, near NE Campaign Street.

“At 12:43 a.m., the deputy made contact with the driver, who was standing on the sidewalk next to the vehicle,” said MCSO Public Information Officer Lt. Steve Alexander. “Shortly after checking on the 16-year-old driver, the deputy observed an adult male sitting on the west sidewalk of NE 102nd Avenue, a few blocks south of the vehicle.”

This man was bleeding from the head, Alexander added. Portland Fire & Rescue paramedics provided help at the scene; the victim was transported by AMR paramedics to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries. “How the pedestrian was involved in the accident remains unclear, and this is a significant part of the ongoing investigation,” said Alexander.
“The initial investigation indicates that the 2007 Acura MDX was travelling northbound on NE 102nd Avenue when the teenage driver became distracted by a GPS device and drifted across the center median and the southbound lanes,” Alexander reported.

“The Acura continued up onto the west sidewalk where it struck a Jeep Wrangler that was parked in a private driveway, and then struck a wooden fence at the same residence as the Jeep. The impact spun the Jeep 180-degrees, and pushed it up against the home.”

The impact on this Jeep was so brutal, it knocked off one of it’s tires.

The impact with the Acura was so severe, Alexander added, that one of the Jeep’s front wheels was snapped off and ended up three hundred feet away on the east side of NE 102nd Avenue.

“Although alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor in the crash,” Alexander noted, “the investigation is continuing, and charges may be filed against the driver.”

There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this odd wreck, Alexander concluded. “We see serious accidents occur when drivers are focusing their attention on any electronic device, including GPS units and cellular telephones. Please, safely pull over to the side of the road – don’t risk your life, or the lives of others, by being a distracted driver.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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