Division Street wreck pins driver in upturned vehicle

Take a look at this one, and you’ll see why both police officers and firefighters say they were really surprised that no one was killed in this T-bone smashup …

SE Division Street is closed off as firefighters and paramedics tend to the driver of an SUV at SE 141st Avenue.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When a turning Subaru Outback SUV got smacked broadside and rolled, at about 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday evening, October 12, traffic on SE Division Street came to a standstill.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) rigs from Stations 7 and 31 raced to the scene, responding to the report of an occupant being trapped within one of the vehicles.

Firefighters begin to tear apart the Subaru Outback so they can extricate the victim trapped inside.

“When they arrived, crews found one car was on its side – and on top of another vehicle with the drivers side down, pinning its driver inside,” explained PF&R spokesman Tommy Schroeder.

Because of the upturned Outback’s unstable landing position, the crew of Truck 7 – fire trucks carry heavy rescue gear – stabilized the car to prevent it from collapsing, while they dismantled the vehicle to get to the victim.

Working both with power tools and pry bars, crews make sure their efforts don’t injure the trapped wreck victim inside.

“Meanwhile Engine 7 & Engine 31 crew members provided medical care, and stood by with charged hose-lines in case they needed to provide protection for rescuers and the patient from a potential fire hazard,” Schroeder said.

The wreck drew a large crowd of onlookers, who watched as firefighters used their power Holmatro Tools to snip, pry, and lay open the mangled vehicle. The rescuers also put pry bars to good use, wrenching off doors to gain access.

Officials say the two occupants of this Chevrolet also sustained injuries in during the wreck.

A Portland Police Bureau sergeant at the scene told us that paramedics had said the trapped victim was in “relatively good condition, considering the nature of the accident”.

The other wrecked vehicle, a blue Chevrolet, sustained front end damage; the airbags had deployed, and the windshield was smashed on the passenger side.

Having been carefully extracted from the wrecked vehicle, the victim is secured on a gurney by firefighters before transport to the hospital.

“Three patients were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries,” stated Schroeder.

While first responders first thought there were three vehicles were involved in the collision, they soon discovered one of the cars was parked and unoccupied at the time of the wreck.

From information he could find, Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Peter Simpson confirmed preliminary information that indicated that the Subaru Outback may have been trying to make a turn across lanes of traffic when struck by the Chevy.

At deadline, Simpson said the official reports of the spectacular crash were still inaccessible to him. When more information becomes available, we’ll update this story.

The crews of two Portland Fire & Rescue engines, one truck, and a Battalion Chief, work together with their compatriot at Portland Police Bureau to keep this accident from going from bad to worse – or even to deadly.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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