Fast, fishtailing truck driver blamed for pin-in wreck

See why the investigating officer said he didn’t believe that the truck was going slowly, while turning off SE 82nd Avenue of Roses …

Portland Fire & Rescue firefighter/paramedics protect the crash victim from flying debris, as they use Holmatro Rescue Tools to remove the crumpled doors from the Toyota sedan.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

New Year’s Eve Day afternoon traffic on S.E 82nd Avenue of Roses slowed for more than an hour starting about 3:00 p.m. on December 31, when a large pickup truck slammed into a small sedan at SE Liebe Street.

According to early witness statements, a white Chevy Silverado pickup truck approached southbound on 82nd Avenue, preparing to turn east on SE Liebe Street, which is about two blocks north of Foster Road.

This smashup happened in an instant, witnesses say.

At the same time, two cars were in line, facing west on SE Liebe Street, waiting for traffic to clear and then turn north on SE 82nd Avenue.

Apparently seeing a break in traffic, the pickup truck’s driver turned and accelerated east on Liebe Street, and careened into the driver’s side of second car, a Toyota four-door sedan, which was stopped and waiting to turn.

After extricating the crash victim from the car, paramedics roll the patient on a gurney toward the waiting ambulance.

Portland Fire & Rescue Truck 11 from the Lents Station was first on scene, and called for a Woodstock Station 25 response – primarily to make use of the Holmatro Rescue Tools on Truck 25 to help extricate the driver.

“The driver was pinned under the steering wheel,” a firefighter/paramedic told East Portland News. “In this situation, the person could be most safely extricated by removing the doors on that side of the car.”

The driver of the pickup truck told a Portland Police Bureau East Precinct officer that that he was “going slowly, less than 10 mph” while completing the turn into SE Liebe Street, and that his rear tire hit the curb, causing him to accidentally accelerate into the car.

Not all of the damage to this Toyota was caused by the collision; firefighters wrenched off the doors and frame posts to safely remove the victim from the car.

A PPB Traffic Division officer who arrived at the scene openly questioned the truck driver’s statement, after seeing the extensive damage to the car his truck hit.

“It looked to me like that truck driver really ‘gunned it’ to shoot through traffic,” eyewitness Willie Williams said.

“I saw it happen while I was waiting for the bus across the street at the IHOP [International House of Pancakes],” Williams told East Portland News. It looked like the truck fish-tailed, and like the driver lost control for a second. Maybe his tire did hit the curb, but he was going pretty fast.”

An AMR ambulance takes the crash patient to a local hospital.

Based on information on the scene, the crash victim was a “discretionary entry” to the medical trauma system – being transported to the hospital for a more complete evaluation than could be made at the scene.

No information on citations issued in the mishap has been made public.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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