Sandy resident killed in Marine Drive flip-over wreck

Look at what investigators are – and are not – saying about this odd-but-deadly wreck …

Police shut down NE Marine Drive while they investigate a fatal single-car crash.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As a thick layer of fog rolled off the Columbia River into outer East Portland on the evening of December 16, more than one driver reported seeing a car fly off NE Marine Drive, and plunge toward the Columbia River.

Emergency first responders rolled out to NE Marine Drive near 142nd Avenue, and began looking for the vehicle, and anyone it carried, just before 8:00 p.m.

Emergency responder lights illuminate the upside-down car, while crews look for victims.

After Portland Fire & Rescue paramedics scrambled down the steep embankment, they found an overturned, but unoccupied, four-door sedan.

Because there were no obvious crash victims along the narrow shoulder, paramedics and police officers fanned out, searching for victims.

Members of the PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team decide how they’ll investigate this unusual crash.

“Preliminary information indicates that the vehicle was traveling westbound on Marine Drive and left the roadway,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The vehicle came to rest a few feet short of the river bank. “The driver was ejected and landed on the river bank,” Simpson reported. “Medical personnel responded and determined the driver was deceased.”

Officials say Sandy resident Mary Augustine Yakutis-Suit died at the accident scene after her car plunged off the highway – for reasons yet unknown.

Little was known at that time about the driver, killed in what PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team ruled to be a single-vehicle crash. “The driver has been identified as 55-year-old Mary Augustine Yakutis-Suit of Sandy, Oregon,” Simpson later revealed.

“Investigators are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash, and do not know if speed, impairment, or distraction were factors in the crash.”

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact Officer Chris Johnson at (503) 823-2213 or

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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