Bicyclists cheat death after being hit by ‘flying’ SUV

Find out why first-responders call these bikers ‘lucky’, after being involved in this Lents neighborhood wreck – although, in another way, it wasn’t such a “lucky day” for one of them …

SE 92nd Avenue at SE Foster Road is closed, while emergency first-responders tend to several injured persons – both within and outside of the vehicles.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A grinding two-vehicle collision, at the intersection of SE 92nd Avenue and SE Foster Road at 8:17 p.m. on July 1, left parts of a SUV and a van scattered about the road and sidewalk. Both were clearly no longer drivable.

But, witnesses say that two bicyclists escaped death when one of the careening cars knocked them off their bikes.

First-responders take care of the crash victims, while others investigate the accident.

The crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11 was on-scene helping the crash victims, as the dust settled – their station house, located in outer East Portland, is only a block from where the wreck occurred.

They were soon joined by three AMR ambulances, whose paramedics were protected by a half-dozen Portland Police Bureau district cars placed to block traffic.

Crash victims are stabilized, and readied to be taken to area hospitals for medical treatment.

According to witnesses who spoke with East Portland News, a southbound Chevrolet Chevelle made a “right turn on red” from SE 92nd Avenue, heading for the Chevron gas station on the opposite corner.

Seeing the Chevy make the turn, apparently the driver of northbound 2008 Toyota Sienna LE van didn’t notice the light was still red, and drove forward into the intersection.

Sitting on a wheel broken off the crash, Zachary Jones is questioned and checked over by a Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11 Paramedic.

20-year-old Zachary Jones told media he was driving his 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee westbound on SE Foster Road, traveling about 35 mph, when he was broadsided by the Toyota Sienna van.

The resulting “T-Bone” collision was so violent, it smashed in the driver’s side of the vehicle and broke off the Jeep’s passenger side rear wheel lug bolts. The Jeep briefly became airborne and flipped in a helical roll. The Toyota Sienna spun out 180º and stopped, mid-intersection, facing southbound.

The car Zachary Jones said he fixed up and got running now looks like a total wreck.

This Toyota Sienna van comes to a rest, facing the opposite direction from the way it was traveling when officials say it hit the Jeep – after running a red light.

The inertia of the Jeep carried it to the northwest edge of the intersection, where it struck 56-year-old Stephen Bruce and 31-year-old Jamie Drennen on the sidewalk near the street, both straddling their bicycles.

Paramedics prepared the bicyclists and both drivers for transport, and then rushed them to area hospitals – both reported to have “serious but not believed to be life-threatening injuries”, according to Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

After supervising the rescue of the injured, a Portland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief described the struck bikers as “very, very lucky. It could have been much worse for them.”

Two bicycles lay on the sidewalk, just feet from where they fell when the airborne Jeep flew past the riders knocking them to the ground.

However, Simpson said it wasn’t as lucky a day for Stephen Bruce. “He was given a citation for Possession of Methamphetamine, after drugs and paraphernalia were discovered in his possession after the crash.”

Jones later said he received cuts, bruises and a sprained shoulder in the accident. But, he said, he was sad that his first car – one that he’d fixed up from being a junker – was now destroyed.

Two days later, PPB Traffic Investigators reported their findings.

It was the Toyota van’s driver, investigators say, who caused this accident.

“They determined that the Toyota van, driven by 65-year-old Nang Nguyen, ran the red light northbound on 92nd Avenue, and collided with the westbound Jeep,” Simpson later reported. “Nguyen was given a citation for ‘Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device’.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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