Reckless driver’s sideways car causes Holgate Blvd. gas scare

When you see these photos, you’ll wonder how the driver was able to wedge her car between a building and utility pole‚ sideways!

Everyone who saw it said they were amazed to see how the driver of this car managed to wedge her vehicle between the utility pole and building.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Reports start coming into 9-1-1 Dispatch shortly after 9:30 p.m., reporting a car‚ stuck sideways‚ at 4434 SE 25th Avenue, on March 10.

On scene, we’re told a driver heading east on SE Holgate Blvd. tried to turn left, to go north, on SE 25th Avenue.

“Officers on scene said she took the turn too fast, popped up over the curb and onto the building,” is the official word according to Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Brian Schmautz. He identified the driver as 23-year-old Erica Wiggins.

“On the first calls,” reports PF&R Lt. Allen Oswalt, “there were reports the car was on fire. When our personnel from Engine 23 arrived, they saw steam escaping from the car’s radiator, but there was no fire. In fact, they reported no injuries in the accident.”

Portland Fire & Rescue workers stand by in case natural gas fumes ignite after the accident.

Engine 23 crewmembers tell us it looked as if Wiggins’ car “drove over” a natural gas meter and its pipe feeding Premiere Manufacturing, located at that corner. They, and police, cordoned off a block surrounding the site to make sure any leaking gas would not ignite.

A NW Natural Gas emergency service technician checks for leaks, and turns off the gas supply. You can also see the skid marks leading up to the building and the impact point on the cement block wall.

As NW Natural Gas gets the service safely shut off for the building, Engine 25 and Truck 25 firefighters arrive. “Our personnel accompanied a representative of Premiere,” reports Lt. Allen Oswalt, “to inspect the inside of the building. They were checking both for gas fumes and the structural integrity of the wall that was hit. PGE crews also checked the utility pole and guy wire.”

Wiggins was cited for Reckless Driving, Schmautz says..

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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