Drunk driver T-bones motorist on SE Holgate Boulevard

It wasn’t bad enough that this guy, arrested for being “deep in his cups”, drove like a dolt – see what happened when he broadsided an innocent victim …

While paramedics and firefighters stabilize a passenger riding in the car said to be the cause of the wreck, a police officer talks with 32-year-old Leroy Burke Hartley before arresting him for DUII.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
This wreck, on September 10, wasn’t an “accident”. It didn’t have anything to do with the sun being in the driver’s eyes as he headed westbound, down the hill on SE Holgate Boulevard from SE 28th Avenue. At 9:20 p.m., the sun had long been set.

“The car shot down the hill, like it was trying race the car beside it,” says witness Peter Hacker. “But the other [westbound] car clearly wasn’t racing; the driver turned off on SE 27th to get away from him. The guy driving the Camaro was driving like a total jerk.”

By the time the Camaro approached the intersection at SE 26th Avenue, other witnesses say the speeding car was fishtailing as it careened westward.

Witnesses say the victim could talk with paramedics as they were preparing her to be transported to the hospital, but she was bleeding from the forehead.

Either the driver of the Washington-plated Camaro didn’t see that the he was approaching a red light, or he was going too fast to stop to avoid cross traffic in the intersection.

In what multiple witnesses call a “grinding crash”, the Camaro plowed into the driver’s side, rear door of a red Chevrolet legally passing southbound through the intersection.

The t-bone collision spun the Chevrolet with such force, it rotated the car 90 degrees, before slamming it into a steel utility pole – caving in the side of the vehicle.

The Camaro ground to a stop about 1/2 block west of the intersection, straddling the two eastbound lanes of SE Holgate Boulevard.

Within minutes, Portland Fire & Rescue’s Engine 23 arrived on scene, and firefighters stabilized the injured persons in both cars.

Looking at the victim’s car, it’s easy to understand why witnesses say it’s a miracle the driver survived the crash.

“Looking at her car, I was surprised the woman who got hit could still talk to the rescuers,” Hacker said. “She had a cut on her forehead, but seemed to be talking OK.”

According to Portland Police Bureau spokesperson, Cathe Kent, police arrested 32-year-old Leroy Burke Hartley, charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. Hartley was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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