Officially, a car struck the mini-bike rider. See why the evidence at the scene indicates otherwise …
Witnesses say the rider of this apparently unlicensed “toy” Honda mini-motorbike drove full-speed into traffic on SE 82nd Avenue, as rush hour was winding down.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s unclear why a 19 year-old female, with purse over her shoulder, drove what looked to be an unlicensed mini-bike motorcycle into the side of a car, eastbound on SE Tolman Street onto 82nd Ave. of Roses on Thursday, July 7, at about 5:15 p.m.
Eyewitness John Priest was showing a customer used cars in a dealership lot at the intersection when it occurred. What first caught his attention, he said, was the high-pitched whine of a small gas engine, sounding like a lawn mower, heading up SE Tolman Street toward 82nd Avenue of Roses.
Witness John Priest says he’s still stunned by the accident he’d just witnessed.
“Then, I saw the young woman ride up to the intersection,” Priest said. “She didn’t slow down one little bit – and proceeded through the stop sign like it wasn’t there. The mini-bike hit a car, southbound on SE 82nd Avenue in the outside lane.”
Priest said it looked like the driver of the car didn’t have a chance to avoid the collision. “It appeared that the car was driving safely; and, it is 82nd Avenue, for crying out loud! If the mini-bike hadn’t hit this car, it would have probably been hit by a vehicle in one of the three other lanes of traffic.”
This shoe, said to have flown off the mini-bike rider’s foot, flew through the air, landing in the used car dealership’s lot.
Priest said the girl on the mini-bike may have tried turning away at the very last second. “And, it looked like the driver of the car tried to swerve to miss her; but it was too late for them to avoid the collision.”
Another witness said he heard the approach of the mini-bike “with the engine running at full speed and slowing down – then a thud.” As he called 9-1-1, he said he walked over to where the mini-bike and woman lay on the pavement. “She wasn’t moving and looked to be in bad shape.”
Police shut down SE 82nd Avenue while investigating this unusual motor vehicle accident – which sent a woman to the hospital in critical condition.
Other witnesses in the area agreed with his account of the accident. One pointed out what they alleged to be the mini-bike rider’s still-laced shoe – thrown nearly 40 feet into a used car lot; her purse lay inside the lot’s fence.
Still others at the scene said the mini-bike rider was motionless while paramedics prepared her for transport, indicating she had not regained consciousness at that time.
SE 82nd Avenue remained closed for several hours while the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Major Crash Team took over the investigation.
“The [mini-bike] rider apparently disregarded a stop sign at SE 82nd Avenue, and rode right in front of a vehicle traveling southbound on SE 82nd Avenue,” later confirmed PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King. “The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and cooperated fully with the investigation. Several witnesses remained at the scene and confirmed the car driver’s account of how the crash occurred.”
As this photo shows, it appears as if the mini-bike ran into the automobile.
Looking at the car – as pointed out by Priest – it did appear as if the damage was to the passenger-side front quarter-panel near the headlight; there was no visible front-end damage, indicating the car was struck on the side by the mini-motocycle, although the official police release says the car struck the cycle.
“The [mini-bike] rider was not wearing a helmet, and is believed to have suffered severe injuries,” King stated. “The woman was transported to an area hospital, where she is believed to be in critical condition. No citations have been issued, and no arrests have been made.”
© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News