Red-light runner crashes and burns in Gateway

Here’s why witnesses say this smashup was truly a ‘hit-and-run’ …

Emergency first-responders rush to a crash in the Hazelwood neighborhood, when this Nissan Quest rams an SUV in the intersection of SE 102nd Avenue and Stark Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A major vehicle crash in outer East Portland that closed the intersection of SE 102nd Avenue and Stark Street at 6:25 p.m. on January 9 wasn’t attributed to a slick roadway.

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct officers and Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews arrived just after passersby put out flames in the engine compartment of the red Nissan Quest minivan involved in the crash.

A firefighter carries away the windshield of a Dodge Ram SUV, left lying on its side after being struck in the intersection.

As the smoke cleared, emergency first responders saw a Dodge Ram SUV on flipped over, with riders still inside.

“I was walking, waiting to cross the street at the intersection, when I saw it happen,” Jacob remarked nearby.

“From where I was standing, it looked like the Nissan was running a red light, as it went [westbound] on Stark Street,” Jacob told East Portland News. “The Ram was [northbound] on SE 102nd, on a green light, and was turning [westbound] on to Stark when the minivan hit it, and made it roll over,” the witness said.

With the Ram SUV stabilized, firefighters assess the crash victims’ injuries.

When he saw flames coming from the engine compartment of the Ram, Jacob said he ran to the nearby gas station, got a fire extinguisher and, with the help of others, put out the fire.

“We checked with the two people in the SUV. The driver gave us the ‘thumbs up’, so we just stepped back and waited for the emergency people to do their job,” Jacob added.

Paramedics prepare to move the first crash victim out of the car and onto a waiting gurney.

After emergency responders successfully removed this patient from the smashed SUV, they moved the victim to a waiting ambulance.

“But what was really weird was when people in the van got out, they started running away from it – and kept on running,” Jacob said, indicating that the occupants headed northward, along SE 102nd Avenue.

The crew from PF&R Mill Park Station riding Truck 7 braced the overturned Ram, while firefighters from Gateway Station 30’s engine hooked up fire protection water lines, in case fire broke out on either vehicle.

Swiftly, but using great care, paramedics remove a second victim from the SUV.

The second patient is taken on a gurney to another ambulance.

The crew of Truck 7 wasted no time grabbing their Holmatro Vehicle Rescue tools, and quickly sheared the roof from the Ram SUV. All of the firefighter/paramedics on-scene carefully stuffed blankets into the vehicle, and then one by one removed the two crash victims out of the wrecked car.

While the rescue was taking place, Police Bureau officers spread out around the area, looking for the occupants of the Nissan, but they were not immediately located.

This accident remains under investigation.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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