Teen driver ‘acting stupid’ causes Pleasant Valley pile-up

We don’t have the official word, but see why witnesses and neighbors say this horrendous collision is just one of many – and, why those involved were lucky to walk away from this wreck …

Portland Police Bureau Officer Michael Gallagher inspects the Toyota Highlander, now parked in a neighbor’s yard, after it blew through a stop sign and smashed into another car.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The night before Thanksgiving Day, folks in Pleasant Valley expected a quiet evening as they got ready for the festive occasion the next day.

The peace was shattered, for folks living near the intersection of SE Flavel Street and SE 112th Avenue, about 10:00 pm on November 26, by a grinding crash that startled – but didn’t surprise – neighbors.

Here’s how a Cadillac STS sedan looks in the showroom …

… and here’s the victim’s model just after being hit by an SUV.

Vehicles spin and fly down street
From what we were told, we gathered that a Toyota Highlander SUV with three youthful occupants was traveling at a fairly high rate of speed, on residential Southeast Flavel Street, approaching the intersection with SE 112th Avenue.

The SUV did not stop for the stop sign, we were told. As it entered the intersection it collided with a northbound Cadillac STS sedan.

The momentum of the spinning Highlander, after it hit the Caddy, mowed down the steel street signpost, then bent over a steel cyclone fence pole embedded in concrete, and came to rest next to a tree – only feet from a house on the southwest corner of the intersection.

The Cadillac ground to a stop – its front end shredded –a quarter of a block west of the intersection. The driver, a 45-year-old man, looked dazed as he stood and spoke with paramedics and police officers.

-4 The Highlander came to a stop – after it smacked into this tree.

Debris from the wreck littered a block of this Pleasant Valley neighborhood street.

Says driver was ‘acting stupid’
Young people – and at least one parent – were huddled at the back of an ambulance. Paramedics were called, because airbags were deployed on both vehicles. Occupants of both vehicles complained of chest pains and other minor injuries. But no one was transported to the hospital by ambulance.

At the scene, a young man, standing with his father, looked wobbly and shaken. He told us he had been riding in the Highlander’s back seat. “She was just acting stupid” when collision occurred, he said, apparently referring to the driver. “I feel scared; I hurt a little and am shook up; I’m surprised I can walk.” He said he was wearing his seatbelt added, “I am sure glad that I was.”

A frequent-collision zone
While police and firefighters inspected the crash zone, just west of the intersection, neighbors told us they are concerned because they say accidents frequently occur at this intersection.

“There needs to be a yellow flashing light at the intersection,” neighbor Debbie Weiss told us as she looked at the wreckage strewn along the length of the block. “There are too many accidents, too many injuries, and too much property damage. We’ve been asking for a flashing yellow light, but instead, the put up an intersection sign down the hill.”

After being checked out by paramedics, occupants of the Highlander wait with a parent as the tow truck arrives to remove the totaled vehicles.

Portland Police Bureau Sergeant Brian Schmautz told us that, because of the holiday weekend, information hadn’t come to the PPB Records Division indicating whether or not the 18-year-old driver of the Highlander was ticketed in the smashup. We’ll update this story when the records become available.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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