Swerving SUV driver slams into Montavilla office building

See the aftermath of this wreck on SE Stark Street – which made such a racket that neighbors rushed out to see what had happened …

Emergency service providers speed to this single-vehicle wreck on SE Stark Street in Montavilla.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Neighbors say the “pedestrian island” recently installed at SE 86th Avenue on SE Stark Street has slowed down traffic that once “raced” from the SE 92nd to the 82nd Ave. traffic signals.

But, one witness said, this new “traffic calming feature” may have played a role in a horrific single-vehicle accident on May 24 at 10:33 p.m.

Portland Fire & Rescue Firefighter/Paramedics check on the man said to have been the “unrestrained driver” of the SUV, just after loading him into the ambulance.

A man who said he was driving west on SE Stark Street, after his workout at Cascade Athletic Club at SE 92nd Avenue, said he saw – in the distance in front of him – the SUV swerve around the newly-installed pedestrian island at SE 86th Avenue.

“It looked like when he swerved around it, he lost control, veered left, and over-corrected and swung right, sliding through the intersection and over the curb almost sideways – then into the building at 85th,” reported the man who declined to identify himself.

A firefighter checks for the fire potential caused by this Ford Explorer XLT plowing into the building.

Neighbor Kelvin Brown picked up the story: “I live three houses up and

I heard a big crash; my wife and I walked down to see what was happening – and my wife called 9-1-1 when we saw this car smashed through the front of the office building on the corner of SE 85th Avenue.”

While his wife hung back, talking with emergency dispatchers, Brown said he rushed up to the mangled vehicle and looked inside. “I saw a man, on the floor, under the dashboard on the passenger side. He was breathing.”

Witnesses point out skid tracks in the grass and along the sidewalk which indicate the SUV was sliding wildly out of control when it collided with the office building.

When Brown leaned through the vehicle’s window to ask the man about his condition, “He was just moaning; he didn’t say anything.”

Brown’s concern heightened when he spied a baby safety seat in the vehicle. “I looked around to see if there was a child in the car – but I didn’t see one – or anyone else, either.”

A Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer looks for evidence inside the smashed SUV.

Unofficial reports indicated the driver was unrestrained at the time of the smash, and remained unresponsive while firefighter/paramedics extricated him from the mangled vehicle and prepared him for trauma transport to OHSU with “life-threatening injuries”.

Portland Fire & Rescue crews from Stations 19 and 7 inspected the building for structural damage, and for the potential of a fire resulting from the destruction of the front of the building.

No further information from officials is available at this time.

Firefighters begin checking the building for structural integrity after the entry for the offices was taken out by the intruding vehicle.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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