Apparently negligent driver causes serious smashup

Witnesses said the driver looked “out of it” after this outer East Portland crash; and what was left inside her vehicle suggests the reason why …

SE Powell Boulevard is closed down in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, across from Curtis Trailers, as emergency first-responders tend to the injured in this near-head-on crash.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Even though there was a fall chill in the air, a dozen or so youths were enjoying the evening at the Ed Benedict Skate Park on SE Powell Boulevard, just west of SE 102nd Avenue, on Wednesday evening, September 28.

At 8:53 p.m., while waiting their turn to show of off their skills, some of the kids at the skate park said they did a double-take as a blue Ford Ranger XL pickup truck, which wasw headed westbound on SE Powell Boulevard, didn’t make the bend in the road, and headed directly toward them.

Witnesses say this pickup truck “missed the bend” and drove directly toward the skate park.

“I ducked behind the crash fence, because I though that truck was coming right on through,” said Ernie Mason.

Instead of plowing into the park, the pickup truck hit the front driver’s side fender of an eastbound Chrysler Grand Caravan SE; crumpling in the side as if it had been a side-impact, T-Bone crash.

Although the vehicles were traveling in opposite directions, this crash ends up looking like a T-Bone collision.

The collision caved in the side of the Grand Caravan, but it remained upright, and facing east after being pushed to the south side of the road.

The momentum of the crash slowed the Ford pickup truck, and it came to rest about 30 feet west of the minivan.

An ambulance, going “Code 3” with lights on and siren wailing, takes the injured driver of the pickup truck off to a nearby hospital.

“The pickup truck didn’t have headlights on,” Mason told East Portland News. “It was really freaky the way the driver not try to turn to make the bend in the road. It was like she was asleep or something – and really out of it.”

He and other witnesses pointed to the open door of the pickup truck. One noted the ripped off steering wheel column cover and pointed to the screwdriver, used as a key in the ignition switch.

What’s left behind on the floor of the pickup truck – hypodermic syringes – may be a clue to why the driver appeared to be “out of it”.

With the driver having been taken to a waiting AMR ambulance, the cockpit of the truck was visible – and on the floor, hypodermic syringes were scattered in the truck.

The extent of the injuries to those in both vehicles has not been made public. Police officers at the scene said charges may indeed be filed against the driver of the pickup truck; and the accident is under investigation.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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