Single-car wreck in Powellhurst-Gilbert puzzles police, locals

You’ll be amazed – as the cops were – that the victim of this wreck was able to limp away from the accident …

People from blocks away walked down SE Foster Road to see what had happened along the roadway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As rush hour was subsiding, on the evening of March 20, the sound of a revving car engine, squealing tires, and a resounding crash, drew folks along SE Foster Road to see what had happened – just east of Zenger Farm in the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood.

“I thought it was cars racing,” said Sen Phan, looking at the wreck he’d heard in the making, which had landed near the end of his outer East Portland driveway.

“The crash was so loud, it made me jump, and come out of my shop to look,” Phan said.

This damaged car illustrates the phrase, “wrapped around a pole”.

Others came from as far as SE 122nd Avenue, having heard the smashup that occurred about 6:15 p.m. on the north side of SE Foster Road, in the 11800 block.

The car’s driver was already in a waiting ambulance when East Portland News arrived at the scene.

This AMR ambulance takes the crash victim off to the hospital for observation.

“It’s surprising anyone could walk away from this one,” remarked a Portland Police Bureau East Precinct District Officer, as he surveyed the scene.

“Actually, paramedics helped him get out of the passenger side of the car,” the officer said, clarifying his statement. “It’s surprising this isn’t a fatality.”

It’s clear, there was no opening the driver’s side door – with being pushed half-way into the car seat.

As best they could tell, the car was headed eastbound on SE Foster Road. For some unknown reason, the car accelerated wildly, slid across oncoming traffic lanes across from the Zenger Farm driveway, and smashed into a wooden utility pole on the north side of the street.

Some speculated it was a “speed contest” gone out of control; others said they thought the car’s throttle had stuck wide open.

These tire tracks illustrate the car’s final trajectory – but no one can explain why this odd wreck took place.

However, the only witness left the scene before police could perform an interview – perhaps due to a language barrier, officers hypothesized.

The driver was transported to a local hospital, condition unknown after the “significant intrusion” of the pole on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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