Single-car East Burnside car crash startles neighbors

See why residents nearby came a-running when they heard the sound of this vehicle smash into a tree – after flying through the air …

This intersection, near Ventura Park School in the Hazelwood Neighborhood, was shut down – while firefighters raced to extricate the driver, trapped in her overturned car.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Hazelwood neighbor Matt Patrick – he lives in a house near the intersection of SE 117th Avenue and E. Burnside Street – told us that a casual afternoon was interrupted by the sound of a violent car wreck, near the MAX Light Rail Line on Tuesday, August 10.

“I was on my computer, and heard the distinctive sound of an impacting, crashing car,” Patrick told us. “I looked out at the intersection, and saw a car upside down. I ran out there, and [I and others at the scene] tried to help the driver, but we couldn’t.”

More than one of the neighbors called 9-1-1, records show – and got rescue crews on their way.

“It looked like one car was involved,” Patrick commented. “It was really strange; there were no other cars around. It looks like [the driver] hit those cement [traffic median] protectors full-on.”

Hitting those concrete-filled poles caused the gray Nissan Maxima GLE to go airborne, it appears, after which it collided with a tree – stripping it of its bark – and crash-landed on its roof.

It’s easy to see where the Nissan hit the protecting pole and took the bark off the tree, before it landed on its roof.

Within moments, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) and Portland Police Bureau responders were on scene.

“It looks like we have a lone occupant in a vehicle that was traveling westbound on E. Burnside,” said PF&R Battalion Chief Chris Babcock.

“The call first came in as a roll-over, and then was upgraded to a pin-in, with the driver trapped in the upside-down vehicle,” Babcock told us at the scene. “They shut down the MAX Light Rail service for about 20 minutes during the course of the incident. The patient was successfully extricated, and transported to a hospital.”

Using their Holmatro Rescue Tool, firefighters were able to snip off the vehicle’s door and remove the patient.

The patient was still hanging by her seatbelt – which officials at the scene said probably saved her life – when rescuers arrived. “We did use of the Holmatro Rescue Tool to take the car door off – it made it easier to ease her out, and secure her to a backboard, before moving her into the ambulance.”

Police reports regarding this incident weren’t available at posting-time; just why this crash occurred remains unclear.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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