Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 21st, 2012 at 9:50 am
collisions on SW 185th Street in Aloha yesterday.
(Photos: Wash. Co. Sheriff's Office)
"On Monday, February 20, 2012, Sheriff's deputies were very busy dealing with crashes involving vehicles vs. pedestrians and bicycles." That's the opening line of a Washington County Sheriff's Office statement sent to the media yesterday. It came after there were three collisions involving vulnerable road users in Washington County that happened within a two-hour time span.
Since I've covered this beat, I don't recall ever seeing a police press statement with three separate incidents so close to each other.
The first collision happened at around 4:30 in Raleigh Hills (about 6 miles southwest of downtown Portland) in the intersection of SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and SW Scholls Ferry Road. According to police, a woman was walking "lawfully in the intersection" on a "Walk" signal when a person driving a car turned right on a red light. The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the person driving the car was cited for "Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian."
(Photo: Washington Co.
Then about one hour later, six miles to the east in Aloha, officers responded to the intersection of SW 185th and Blanton. They found a 46-year-old woman with serious injuries who claimed a man driving a black SUV turned left into her path as she rode north on 185th. The man struck her and then sped away. A Washington County Sheriff's Deputy found the vehicle and later arrested a man in an apartment complex a few blocks away. 51-year-old Francisco Luna-Flores said he "panicked and left the scene." He has been charged with "Felony Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (hit and run)."
Then a half hour later, just 1/2 mile up the road, a man suffered life-threatening injuries after he rode his bike into the street at the intersection of SW 185th and Pheasant Lane. Witnesses told deputies that the man, 45-year-old Gordon J. Douglas of Aloha, was riding down the sidewalk and "suddenly turned left and rode straight into traffic." The deputies found the person who was driving the car to not have any fault and they that alchohol consumption by Mr. Douglas played a factor in the collision. Douglas remains in the hospital.
"I don't think I could put a reason on it. It's just bad circumstances and timing."
— Sgt. David Thompson, Washington Co. Sheriff's Office
Sgt. David Thompson with the Washington County Sheriff's Office concurred that it's "unusual" to have this many collisions in such a short amount of time. He didn't think there was any specific factor that contributed to them. The weather wasn't any worse than it normally is, he said. "I don't think I could put a reason on it. It's just bad circumstances and timing."
Sgt. Thompson said that the street where two of the collisions occurred, SW 185th, is a "major thoroughfare." It has 5 lanes and a 45 mph posted speed limit. "It's fast," said Thompson, "And where it crosses TV [Tualatin Valley] Hwy, that's a huge intersection."
The huge arterial streets that define Washington County certainly play a role; but, as the story we published just previous to this one shows, so too does low quality and inadequate access for people who walk and bike.