Roll-over crash closes I-205 in Lents

Here’s why traffic was backed up nearly to Battleground on Sunday afternoon …

Firefighter places flares to provide traffic control, shutting down all traffic on Interstate 205 in the Lents neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

On an otherwise spring-like Sunday afternoon, an outer East Portland crash on southbound I-205, just south of the Holgate Boulevard overpass, shut down traffic at 4:15 p.m. on January 24.

“It looked to me like the driver of the black car was trying to miss a dog, or something, running on the road, and swerved too hard,” Jake Smith told East Portland News, who claimed to have witnessed the accident while riding along the parallel Multi-Use Path.

Looking up the accident report, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson said that a southbound Ford Explorer XLT did, indeed, swerve on the freeway. “It swerved from the left lanes of traffic, all the way across the freeway and left the roadway, went onto the shoulder.

“The Explorer then swerved back onto I-205 and hit a Toyota RAV4,” Simpson added. “The report indicates the Explorer that ended up on its top may have had a mechanical issue.”

Officers gathered by the Ford Explorer that flipped and rolled, after firefighters finished cutting the driver out of the vehicle.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) dispatched eight units to the scene; the Police Bureau sent five cars to provide traffic control – in this case, to shut down all lanes of I-205.

A black Ford Explorer XLT was upside down in the center travel lane; a white Toyota RAV4 had skidded onto the paved center median area. Although the Toyota was on its wheels, and able to be driven, the passenger’s side was caved in.

The Toyota, the other vehicle involved in the accident, remains on the inside shoulder of the freeway. A nearby AMR ambulance crew stabilizes crash victims before transporting them to the hospital.

A crowd of spectators lined the Holgate Boulevard overpass, watching as PF&R crews aided the crash victims below on the freeway.

“There were two teenagers that got out of the Toyota,” Cindi Rickerts said. “They were giving them CPR, or something, on the side of the freeway before they put them in the ambulance.”

Although it was badly damaged, a firefighter started up – and drove – the Toyota RAV4 slowly from the accident scene.

“The [Ford Explorer XLT] on its top had one occupant pinned inside,” confirmed PF&R Public Information Officer Ron Rouse. “There were a total of four patients in the accident, all of whom were transported to Oregon Health & Science University with non-life-threatening injuries.”

Although the freeway was opened to southbound traffic at about 6:00 p.m., it took considerable time after that for the two-state traffic jam to clear the area through outer East Portland.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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