Impaired driver and brake failure said cause of two EP wrecks

Two appalling accidents, two days apart, had nothing to do with rain or ice. But, the resulting injuries sent drivers to the hospital …

Portland Fire & Rescue crewmembers work to free the driver from her vehicle after it careens into a utility pole, snapping it like a twig.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The story of a wreck that closed down SE Foster Road on November 27 starts down in Clackamas County.

A few minutes before this crash, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Officer Deputies tells us, someone phoned 911 Emergency regarding a Kia, going north on I-205 near Johnson Creek Boulevard. “The car was swerving around the freeway,” says the deputy. “The call was relayed to us; we were trying to catch up with the vehicle, but weren’t chasing it.”

James Kosmecki and his daughter were coming home from school about 4:00 p.m. They were going east on SE Foster Road, and fall in behind the Kia. “The driver was mostly on the shoulder,” Kosmecki says. “My impression was it was going to make a right turn somewhere.”

Suddenly, the Kia veered into the right lane, then the center lane, then back again, almost bouncing off the curb. “I was about to call in the plate number for suspicious driving,” Kosmecki continues. “The car made it through the yellow light at 122nd Ave.; but I stopped. It looked like the driver picked up speed going through the light ‚Äì maybe doing 45 or 50. This person was driving like they were seriously impaired.”

A service attendant tells us he was looking east as the Kia whizzed past him at SE 122nd and Foster Rd. “She [the driver] jumped up on the curb and slammed into the pole and snapped it,” he says. “The truck stopped her. No reason at all for it that I can see.”

No support – the top of this utility pole dangles dangerously after the speeding car smashed out the lower portion.

The Kia sheared a power pole ‚Äì knocking out the lower eight-foot portion, leaving the top dangling, suspended dangerously from the wires above. The vehicle’s careening journey ends as it plows into the back end of a parked truck. Airbags deploy. Sheriff’s deputies are on scene moments after the horrific collision.

Some said the driver of this Kia, being prepared for ambulance transport to the hospital, is lucky to be alive.

Within minutes, a Portland Fire & Rescue crew from Station 29 swiftly works to extract a woman, said to be the only occupant of the vehicle. Her medical condition remains unknown due to new federal confidentiality laws.

“The driver is definitely impaired, but we don’t know the cause ‚Äì if impairment is due to intoxication or a medical condition,” a Sheriff deputy tells us at the scene. “The driver is not in any condition for a field sobriety test.”

Mechanical failure sends one to hospital

The injured driver in this accident is being stabilized before being loaded into the ambulance.

It was raining the evening of November 25, but slick streets didn’t contribute to this accident, authorities say.

Just after weekend traffic starts to peak on SE 82nd Ave. of Roses, drivers are routed east and west on SE Yamhill Street because of a grinding wreck.

This victim, hit by a loaded, out-of-control pickup truck, is sent to the hospital.

Authorities on scene aren’t talking. But a young man, who identifies himself as the driver of the truck tells us, “I was trying to move my stuff. My brakes gave out. I did the best I could, but I couldn’t stop. I tried to swerve out the way, but still caused the accident. I hope the other person is OK.”

The condition of the driver who was sent to the hospital is unknown.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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