Cops see rear-end wreck in the making

Usually officers of the law come upon motor vehicle accidents after they’ve happened. But it sounds like they saw this one coming …

A Portland Police Bureau District Officer talks with both victims of the multivehicle crash.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Late on a misty Saturday night, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) District Officers were out “looking for trouble” – or, as many of them have told East Portland News over the years, “something that just doesn’t look right”.

On their radios, officers were talking about a Pontiac Grand Prix SE heading southbound on SE 122nd Avenue on January 4, about 11:30 p.m., heading into the outer East Portland Powellhurst Gilbert neighborhood.  It sounded as if they were about to pull over the driver when one of them radioed, “He stacked it up – send an AMR ambulance unit.”

The driver of this Pontiac Grand Prix SE didn’t – or couldn’t – stop, after rear-ending the pickup truck.  Note the badly cracked windshield.

A “stack up” in police jargon means they just witnessed a driver getting into an accident. The one they saw took place just north of SE Holgate Boulevard.

David, the driver of a Dodge 4×4 King Cab the pickup truck, told East Portland News at the scene that he, and the driver of a Honda Civic in front of him, were stopped at a red traffic signal.

“I saw the headlights coming up behind me pretty quickly,” David said. “I thought he might take the next lane – but no, the old Pontiac just rammed into the back of my truck.”

PPB Traffic Division officers examine the Pontiac that smashed into the vehicles waiting at red traffic light.

This wasn’t a gentile tap, he added. “It hit me so hard, it pushed my truck into the Honda in front of me, even with my brakes on!”

Then, to his even greater surprise, “It felt the car smashed into me again, and it seemed like the car just kept going. It sound like the engine was wrapping up and the wheels are trying to turn.”

The pickup truck brakes didn’t hold during the collision, pushing it forward, and into the back of this Honda Civic.

Finally the car stalled out and all was quiet, as police cruisers rolled up behind the caravan of smashed vehicles.  The ambulance, called to the scene for the driver of the pickup truck and for the Honda’s driver, pulled up promptly.

Both of the victims said they were shaken, and would seek a medical evaluation, but declined transport to a hospital.

Paramedics load the driver of the Pontiac into an ambulance, before being taken to a hospital.

However, the before the AMR Ambulance unit could pull away, the driver of the Pontiac expressed a medical concern, and paramedics prepared him for transport to a local hospital.

PPB Traffic Division officers investigated the chain-reaction crash; reports of whether the driver had a medical condition – or was driving while intoxicated – are as yet, unavailable.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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