Red-light-running driver causes Stark Street smashup

Next time you’re in a hurry and think about trying to squeak through a “very yellow” light – remember this story. Don’t worry, it’s not gory …

SE Stark Street is shut down for hours, as accident investigators and clean up crews work at this accident, said to be caused by a red-light-running driver.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When we heard the details of this crash crackle across the police radio during the late afternoon hours of March 20, we listened carefully about how a minivan – with a mom and three kids inside – had rolled over onto its side after an intersection crash.

As we approached the scene – SE Stark Street, on the I-205 Freeway overpass – we were relieved to learn that the crew of Portland Fire & Rescue’s Truck 7 had successfully pried open the vehicle with their Holmatro Rescue Tools and safely removed the occupants.

Portland Fire & Rescue made quick work of peeling back the top of this Toyota Sequoia and rescuing the crash victims – they’d finished the job and left before we arrived on-scene.

Although the driver wasn’t seriously injured, we learned, she was taken to the hospital as a precaution because of the nature of the wreck and the length of time it took to extricate her from the minivan.

Witnesses told us – later confirmed by a Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Sergeant at the scene – that the green Toyota Sequoia “blew through the red light while heading westbound”.

This image shows the devastating impact the collision had on the blue Toyota Corolla when struck by the SUV minivan.

No one was sure if the blue Toyota Corolla, heading northbound into the intersection on what witnesses said was a green traffic signal had been about to turn west on SE Stark Street, or was on its way north toward NE Glisan Street.

“We don’t know if, or why, the driver – with a van full of kids – was distracted, or was just in too big a hurry today,” the sergeant said. “This accident could have been much worse – but at least two families’ lives have been permanently changed by this wreck, and not for the better.”

Remember this image the next time you think about blowing through a red light – it could save your life.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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