Tipsy driver cited in roll-over crash on East Burnside

Here are the results of our investigation into this Montavilla neighborhood crash …

Just past rush hour, two badly damaged cars block East Burnside Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It is unusual that a traffic crash that sent one car tumbling and left two others too damaged to drive – and sent at least one person to the hospital – would have no witnesses. Especially on a busy road like East Burnside Street.

But, at about 5:15 p.m. on July 12, such a crash took place just east of the intersection of SE 79th Avenue and E. Burnside Street, and apparently nobody saw it happen.

A Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer takes photos, documenting the position of the upturned Toyota Prius SUV, as TriMet bus riders watch from the bus stop.

The front, and driver’s side quarter panel, of a burgundy four-door 2005 Toyota Prius was crushed in the collision, causing it to roll over onto its top.

Coming to rest at a parallel angle to the upended Prius across E. Burnside Street – also with substantial damage to the front and the driver’s side quarter panel – was a silver 2010 Hyundai Elantra four-door sedan. A third vehicle was also involved: A 2005 Toyota Corolla

An accident victim is loaded into an AMR ambulance for transport.

Two ambulances were called to the scene; one of them had already departed by the time East Portland News arrived. Another patient was being prepared for transport by Portland Fire & Rescue Station 19 paramedic/firefighters and an AMR ambulance crew.

Although 14 people had gathered in the area, including six at the TriMet bus stop, none of them interviewed said that they actually saw the crash happen.

With no one in the area to witness the accident, the cause of this crash was a mystery to all who witnessed the result.

“We heard it happen,” neighbor Marquisha Jones told East Portland News. “There weren’t any tires squealing; nothing like that. Just a big ‘boom’ and the sound of breaking stuff.”

Shedding light on the riddle of this wreck was Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “The Toyota Prius was eastbound on E. Burnside Street, and crossed the center line, hitting the westbound Corolla, which was then struck by a westbound Hyundai Elantra.”

The driver of the Toyota Prius, 44-year-old Katherine Marie Gibbs, was cited for DUII and Reckless Driving, Simpson said.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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