Smashing driver runs from wreck – on foot

With 21 accidents at this particular crossroads, see why neighbors say it might be the most dangerous intersection in outer East Portland …

Firefighters take a closer look at the smashed front end of this SUV, after extricating the victim.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Neighbors along SE 112th Avenue – the road that divides the outer East Portland neighborhoods Lents and Pleasant Valley, running south from SE Foster Road, across Johnson Creek to the top of Mt. Scott – say that hearing vehicle collisions has become commonplace.

It looked like a mid-evening “block party” on October 15, as families left their homes after hearing yet another grinding crash at that intersection – SE Flavel Street and 112th Avenue.

AMR paramedics load the crash victim into their ambulance.

“One of our neighbors said they’ve counted 21 smashups here in the last few years,” Jack Garrison told East Portland News.

At this location, SE Flavel Street is a residential street, with stop sign on SE 112th Avenue. “But, for some reason, people don’t stop – especially when they’re coming west on Flavel – and usually, they’re usually going pretty fast,” Garrison added.

Parts and pieces broken off the Honda Nitro 4×4 litter SE Flavel Street, for nearly a block.

From his preliminary investigation of this evening’s crash, a Portland Police Officer East Precinct District Officer said a woman was driving her full-size, four-door SUV south – uphill – toward the top of Mt. Scott.

“We believe a Honda Nitro 4×4 was westbound on SE Flavel Street at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at the intersection, and collided with the SUV, rotating the vehicle 180° during the crash,” the officer said.

Neighbors tell an officer they witnessed the driver crawl out of the upside down 4×4, then scamper on down the street.

Down the block, a homeowner was talking with another officer. He explained that he lived in the house that was directly across SE Flavel Street from where the Honda landed, a couple yards from SE 111th Avenue.

“I saw a guy shinny out of the upside-down Honda, and start to walk [westbound],” the neighbor reported. “I called to him and told him to stick around. That’s when he took off running.”

A Portland Police Traffic Division officer joins firefighters, looking at the demolished, overturned Honda Nitro.

Accounts of those in the area varied; some said the driver continued jogging west on SE Flavel Street, others said he turned south on SE 111th Drive before disappearing from the stunned neighbors’ view.

The result of the collision was clear.

SUV’s front end demolished. The paramedics riding Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 29 provided immediate care to the injured female driver, who was transported via AMR ambulance to a local hospital.

The car’s headlights still burning, the smashed Honda’s driver’s door remains open after the operator took off on foot.

After striking and spinning the SUV, the Honda Nitro continued westbound on SE Flavel Street, probably not on its wheels. It looked as if it rolled at least twice, and flipped once – gouging lawns on the south side of the street and taking out several very heavy landscape anchor bricks before coming to rest on its top, on the sidewalk.

These Thruster MIX bass loudspeakers, now hanging in the rear window of this smashed vehicle, probably won’t be booming out tunes anytime soon. Note the missing rear wheel assembly.

The headlights remained lit; driver’s side door was open and much of driver’s personal items were strewn on the sidewalk and street.

Among the expelled contents were:

  • A binder with a large sheaf of legal or perhaps financial records that was broken open;
  • A new pair of size 10.5 Nike Air shoes had broken out of its box;
  • An open can of energy drink;
  • A laptop computer, on the sidewalk next to the open door; and
  • Five cans of Budweiser beer that appeared to be unopened.

 

After entering the license plate number into his Mobile Data Terminal, an officer was able to pull up the Oregon Drivers License photo of the vehicle’s owner.

“It’s pretty dark,” said a neighbor asked to look at the computer screen, “but that surely looks like the guy I saw crawling out of the car.”

Other neighbors from further down the street joined the conversation. One of them, after taking a look at the photo, said they were quite certain that a Portland Police K-9 unit had indeed caught up with the fleeing driver on SE 105th Avenue.

The passenger’s side looks as smashed – much like the rest of this wrecked vehicle.

Neighbors eventually left the scene wondering if the hit-and-run-away driver if caught, was intoxicated, or would be cited.

As of this writing, official information remains unavailable. We’ll update the story when we can.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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