Schoolgirl, dashing to catch bus, struck on 82nd Avenue

Find out why officials say it wasn’t the fault of the motorist – and what lesson can be learned from this tragic incident in Montavilla …

SE 82nd Avenue at SE Mill Street is closed, near the end of morning rush hour, as Portland Police Traffic Division investigators work at the scene.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Her mom said that the morning of June 3 was typical for her 15-year-old daughter, Amiracle Hernandez – except that she was a little late catching her ride to school.

As the facts come out, at about 8:40 a.m. Hernandez was on the west side of SE 82nd Avenue at SE Mill Street, in the Montavilla Neighborhood in outer East Portland, when she saw her north-bound TriMet bus pull up on the other side of the intersection.

A Traffic Bureau investigator holds the transponder of their “Total Station” accident reconstruction probe next to the vehicle said to have struck the victim.

“She did appear to be in a crosswalk,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “But, she crossed against the signal, and was struck by a northbound silver 2003 Mercedes S430 four-door, driven by a 66-year-old male.”

Witnesses said they were troubled by what they saw.

“She flew in the air for about 15 feet,” Jason Jacobson told reporters. “The girl lay still; she didn’t move at all.”

With the victim’s shoe still lying in the roadway, Traffic Division officers pursue their investigation.

Portland Fire & Rescue personnel arrived, and began treating the pedestrian, whom they immediately identified as a trauma patent.

The Mercedes was stopped on SE 82nd Avenue, just past the point of impact, while officers from the PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team collected evidence.

“The driver remained on-scene and cooperated with investigators,” Simpson later told East Portland News. “It does not appear that the driver was impaired by intoxicants. No citations have been issued, and the crash is still under investigation.”

The TriMet bus which the accident victim was running to catch, remains stopped at the intersection.

That afternoon, media was invited to the OHSU Hospital main lobby, where the girl’s mother met with reporters. Hospital officials said Hernandez was in critical condition, but doctors added that she is expected to survive.

The victim’s mother, Shawntina Leath, began, “I didn’t know how severe it might be, and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh! My daughter got hit by a car. God, have mercy, don’t let her die’.”

Hernandez was diagnosed with a broken arm and pelvis, Leath said, but the main concern was a “serious head injury. “She got the name ‘Amiracle’ because she was a ‘miracle baby’ – no one thought that she would survive birth. But, she beat the odds then, and she seems to be beating the odds now.”

Seen here with the victim’s brother, her mother says Amiracle was given that name, for good reason. Family-supplied photo

About the driver of the car that struck her daughter, Leath said, “I don’t have anger – for the simple fact that it was an accident; accidents happen. I’m just grateful my daughter is still living and breathing. I can’t ask for more than that.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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