18-wheeler hits and drags wheelchair-bound woman near Eastport Plaza

See why this outer East Portland accident shook up witnesses who saw it happen – and the condition of the injured woman.
Please note, some photos may be too graphic for some readers  …

Police officers take measurements at the scene where a 78-year-old wheelchair-bound woman was struck by a truck.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Just after 3 p.m. on Friday, September 21, pedestrian and vehicular traffic is slowing down as the afternoon rush is starting up at the busy intersection of SE 82nd Ave. of Roses and SE Holgate Blvd., near Eastport Plaza.

“I looked up and saw an old woman, riding in an electric wheelchair, start to cross the street [going north on 82nd Ave, crossing Holgate]. This big truck was turning left and hit her,” says eyewitness Lilana Longoria.

Taking a closer look at the mangled power wheelchair, officers gather information to make their report.

Other witnesses collaborate her story, and say the 18-wheeler was turning left – on a green arrow – from southbound 82nd Ave., heading east on SE Holgate Blvd. The front, passenger side of the truck cab strikes the powered wheelchair and starts dragging it and its occupant eastward.

“People are rushing up to the truck and pounding on the window, screaming and shouting, ‘Stop! Stop!‘ But by then, the truck dragged her quite a ways.”

Heavy Friday afternoon traffic came to a standstill as this busy intersection became a police investigation scene.

Looking at the accident scene, we surmise that fender of the semi cab dragged the wheelchair about 30 feet. Within minutes, we are told, an ambulance rushed the victim away to get medical care.

Portland Police Bureau spokesman, Brian Schmautz, says 78-year-old Ursala Knierim was operating the electric wheelchair. The truck that struck her was driven by 60-year-old Randall Bubb.

Officials say, as bad as this accident was, the victim’s injures did not take her life.

“No citations have been issued at this time and Knierim’s injuries do not appear to be life threatening,” Schmautz reports.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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