Sleepy driver careens off East Burnside

Here’s what happened in a moment of inattention in this outer East Portland smash-up …

The scraped curbing marks the spot where a truck left the road in the Hazelwood neighborhood – and skidded onto the TriMet MAX Light Rail tracks.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A company-owned truck was involved in a single-vehicle wreck just moments after noon on July 8 along East Burnside Street.

The way the vehicle landed upside down in a neighbor’s yard, some 30 feet below grade level, made it impossible to determine the vehicle’s make and model.

A Traffic Division officer documents the area where the truck shot up, off the tracks, and back onto the roadway, in the first half of this mishap.

According to a Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer at the scene, the driver was westbound on East Burnside Street from 122nd Avenue. “In the 11900 block, the driver swerved off the street, over the curb, and along the TriMet MAX Light Rail tracks,” the officer told East Portland News.

In an effort to regain control, the driver apparently jerked the steering wheel to get back on the roadway. The vehicle lurched off the rails, over the curb, and then the inertia carried the truck across the traffic lane, over a low chain link fence, and into a neighbor’s yard.

After leaving the road, driving on the tracks, and shooting back up onto the roadway, the truck then flipped over and landed in this yard, inches from a parked pickup truck.

Amazingly, the airborne truck missed the pickup truck parked in front of the house – and landed upside down in the bushes.

The severity of the driver’s injuries are unknown; the man was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment.

“He’ll have some explain to his boss,” remarked an officer at the scene. “He said he was driving a company truck, and just fell asleep at the wheel when it happened.”

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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