Deadly and dangerous wrecks plague SE 122 Avenue at Stark

Two accidents, only 17 hours apart, take a life, in one case‚ and “totals” two vehicles, sending occupants to the hospital, in another,

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Traffic was shut down at the intersection of SE 122nd Avenue and SE Stark Street twice, in less than 24 hours, due to car crashes.

Deadly hit-and-run
July 4, about 10:35 pm, East Precinct officers respond to a pedestrian- involved hit and run accident, near the intersection of SE 122nd and SE Stark.

“A citizen apparently saw the collision, and followed the suspect until officers could stop him and take him into custody,” Portland Police Bureau’s spokesman, Sgt. Brian Schmautz, tells us. “Officers located a critically injured male; he was transported to OHSU.”

Police say Florentino Garcia struck a pedestrian in the intersection on July 4.

Investigators believe, Schmautz informs us, that 59-year-old Florentino Garcia was driving a Ford pickup westbound on SE Stark Street when he hit a man, identified as 44-year-old Dannie Price. They believe Price was crossing northbound across SE Stark Street in the crosswalk.

Dannie Price died of injuries sustained in this Independence Day accident.

“Based on witness information,” Schmautz continues, “investigators believe Garcia, the driver, had a green light at the time of the collision.”

Officials say Garcia was booked on one count of DUII, one count of Reckless Driving, and one count of Assault in the Third Degree. The suspect was booked before the victim died. “The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office, which may ask jurors to consider raising the assault charge to a manslaughter charge at grand jury. Alcohol consumption will be a factor in the decision-making process regarding both the suspect and victim,” adds Schmautz.

17 hours later‚
At 3:18 p.m. on July 5, on SE Stark only 50 feet west of SE 122nd, a two-car collision ultimately sends two people to the hospital.

Within minutes of the smashup, Portland Fire & Rescue Truck 45 arrives on-scene. Fire and Rescue workers help remove the injured passengers from the two cars; they prepare the patients for transport to Mt. Hood Medical Center for evaluation.

Police say the this accident victim was in the car that pulled out into traffic and caused the wreck.

Again, Sgt. Brian Schmautz fills in the details: “18-year-old Shauna Leistiko was exiting the Burgerville parking lot [on the northwest corner of the intersection].”

Schmautz confirms what an eyewitness at the scene, Allen, tells us: “The Chevy Cavalier came out of the parking lot, looking like she was going eastbound on SE Stark Street. She drove right in front of a car coming westbound. It was quite a smash,” the witness says.

This accident victim came from the Camry. The vehicle was hit so hard, it knocked it south, across three lanes of traffic and into a tree on the south side of the road, authorities say.

Leistiko’s Cavalier collided with a Camry driven by 73-year-old Constance Haynes, Schmautz says.

While no tickets were issued, Schmautz tells us, Haynes had the right of way. “Two people went to the hospital for trauma injuries. Two cars are wrecked. The lesson is simple: Look before you enter the street.”

Police say this accident is the result of one driver not yielding the right of way to traffic already traveling along the street.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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