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Fatal crash on SW Barbur last night – Updated

Posted by on December 16th, 2010 at 8:05 am

Red area is approximate location of collision. The woman was walking southbound (west side of street).


A 28 year old man is in jail this morning for his role in a crash that killed a woman who was walking her bicycle in the bike lane on SW Barbur Boulevard last night.

This view is from the east side of Barbur
looking south, just north of the driveway
entrance to an apartment complex.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, Caleb Pruitt was driving his 2008 Subaru Impreza southbound on Barbur about a half-mile south of Hamilton Street “at a high rate of speed.” He then lost control of his car and struck and killed 26-year old Angela Burke. According to the PPB and media reports, Burke was walking her bicycle in the bike lane (also headed southbound) prior to the collision.

The PPB has booked Pruitt into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of DUII and Criminally Negligent Homicide.

It’s still not clear to me where exactly the woman was struck. However, I’ve heard from the PPB that the collision occurred “just north” of the entrance to the Town and Country Apartments (4820 SW Barbur), which are on the opposite side of the street. If Burke lived there, she might have been trying to cross the street to get home. (See map at top of post).

The investigation is ongoing. If you saw anything or have additional information, please call Traffic Division Officer Barry Busse at (503) 823-2216.

Here’s a video report by KGW-TV with images from the scene:

This section of Barbur, which is a high-speed state highway, has no sidewalks and is not very well lit. Have you visited and “liked” the Friends of Barbur group on Facebook yet?

[Also last night, someone walking in the intersection of North Lombard (also a state highway) and North Ida Avenue was struck by a motor vehicle. A 21-year old man suffered several injuries and was transported to the hospital. The injuries were not life-threatening.]

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Dave
Guest

As someone who lives right off Barbur….this sucks and scares the bejesus out of me. All the more reason to back Friends of Barbur.

Andrew Plambeck
Guest
Andrew Plambeck

This is so sad. I work around the corner from there, and I ride and/or walk through that intersection every day.

It’s an unbelievably dangerous spot where cars seem to have no regard for traffic signals or laws. I regularly (pretty much every day) see drivers sitting in the southbound Barbur left turn lane not wait for the light and simply pull across the double-line to make a U-turn, while cross traffic is still flowing.

It’s also my most common viewpoint for the still-prominent cell phone and lack of turn signal offenses.

I would really hope, especially in light of this, that PPB will start actually enforcing this intersection. The only time I’ve seen officers there was after a two-car crash.

Tom Archer
Guest

I was almost hit one block from there on my way into work this morning. Barbur is the most dangerous stretch of my commute and there are few, if any alternate routes.

jram
Guest
jram

someone almost hit me at this same intersection last night. i was travelling northbound, and when the light changed, the cars turning across the northbound lane continued pouring through.

i hate seeing headlines with the word fatal in them, but when it occurs in a spot you travel everyday, it gets even more real.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

weird, I saw the bicycle thing being questioned in earlier reports but now I don’t see any mention of it…

either way it must have been rough since the window of the car was shattered and it killed the 26 year old female ped…

David M
Guest

I was almost hit at that intersection a couple months ago. I loathe that area, between that intersection and the Barbur/Naito mess it can be pretty nerve wracking at times. Luckily the company I work for is moving downtown this week so I won’t have to go through that area anymore.

h
Guest
h

Not surprising… some rats tried to mow me down at a Naito Parkway crosswalk twice this morning…

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Once you’re south of Hamilton, Barbur turns into a de facto freeway. No sidewalks – a total automobile sewer. My condolences to the family of the victim.

Esther
Guest
Esther

My thoughts & prayers go out to Ms. Burke’s family. I hope they can find some peace through the justice system and the support of our community.

You may remember Lombard and Ida as the intersection where several teenagers were hit by a driver who was blinded by morning sun a few weeks (month?) ago. Busy east-west traffic on Lombard but also tons of pedestrians due to Roosevelt high, Fred Meyer, a laundromat and salon, McDonald’s, etc. and also it’s the connection between several bikeways (Smith, Central, Willamette).

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

The drivers I wish would get ticketed are those southbound on Barbur just south of the Naito split who turn left across double double yellow lines to drop down to Corbett.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Before you read my next paragraph, I want to preface it by saying that this is a horrible tragedy and my condolences to anyone that is deeply affected by this. Barbur is a key part of my commute and the safety of everyone on that route is a huge concern for me. I am absolutely 100% not blaming the victim here, right now just looking for answers as to why something so sad could have happened.

From the video clip and the initial report, it makes it sound like the pedestrian was struck in the bike lane on southbound Barbur just before Hamilton. There is both a Tri-Met bus stop with a shelter here, and a sidewalk (the sidewalk ends at Hamilton). I’ve tried to figure it out, but I can’t understand why someone would want to be walking in this uber-dangerous spot on the roadway at night. 🙁 I’m hopeful that the answers to this will become clear based on ODOT’s report, and that appropriate action can be taken to make this area safe and welcoming for all modes.

That said, there’s still no excuse for the vehicle operator that veered into the bike lane and collided with her. I have zero tolerance for that, since the driver could have just as easily hit anyone cycling in that lane as well. This is also the second pedestrian fatality on Barbur in the last four months (another one occured on September 23rd at Barbur/Capitol). Unacceptable. 🙁

jim
Guest
jim

There seams to be a lack of enforcement on a lot of things, after a while more people pick up on that and it gets worse

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

wow, the update is pretty sad news…

time to slow down Barbur and put in a couple freeway ramps instead? can’t do one without the other or cars start complaining about their rights…

what’s all that I-5 construction down that way anyways?

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

I feel so sorry for Angela Burke and her friends and family. How many people have to die before we stop approaching the right of way so completely AUTO oriented. This intersection is less than a mile from downtown.

I hope (wish) that ODOT would approach deaths caused by poor design with as much passion as they do to congestion. From an outside perspective ODOT, and the employees whom work there, look like animals for their lack of concern or drive to fix our REAL transportation issues.

ODOT should be ashamed, but unfortunately, they don’t even care.

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

OregonLive reports it happened 1/2 mile south of Hamilton and the victim was starting to cross Barbur, presumably to get to the apartments in that area.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/12/portland_police_accuse_motoris.html

Johnnie Olivan
Guest

be careful out there!!!

Allan
Guest
Allan

Tragic. How many more have to die before design changes get funded and built? Enforcement is a temporary nuiscence. Death is permanent.

John Landolfe
Guest

Out of respect for human life, drivers like this should never have another chance to touch a steering wheel. I work not a quarter mile from there and everyday I engage people trying to find a safe way through that neighborhood. My deepest sympathies for the woman’s friends and family.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Just updated story with information about location of collision and included this graphic..

mello yello
Guest
mello yello

This is not about design changes. It’s about a racer wannabe(300 hp subaru impreza) drunk losing control at high speed after being surprised by a pedestrian pushing her bike across an unlit roadway in the dark of night. Here’s his facebook: http://www.facebook.com/friends/?id=1439735587#!/profile.php?id=1439735587

Ermal
Guest
Ermal

Subaru Impreza…imagine that. Anyone taking odds?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

infrastructure changes? traffic flaws? what?

folks, this woman was killed a freaking drunk driver.

alcohol was the cause. this was not a mistake, it was not caused by inattentiveness. It was caused by someone drinking and driving. This poor woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time and this jackwad needs to go to jail. As someone who had lost a family member as a victim of drinking and driving, I feel terribly for her family, especiallly during the holidays.

this was not a problem with sidewalks, bike lanes, or anything else. sober drivers can negotiate basic traffic situations. drunk drivers cannot. PPD could not have prevented this with more enforcement.

Wayne
Guest
Wayne

When I commute to work, whether by bike or by car, my route from Tigard to NW is Durham to Hall to 99/Barbur all the way in, then down Naito all the way to Nicolai, which I then take to St Helens road down to 35th and up to Yeon where my office is located. My trip home is essentially the reverse. I understand it is a dangerous route. I can testify that most people drive Barbur well in excess of the speed limit and seem to think it is an alternative to I-5 without the daily backups.

I fully support any efforts to make Barbur a safer commute for cyclists. My first suggestion would be to lower the speed limit and step up enforcement. There needs to be better lighting in a number of hazardous stretches, like the two bridges coming in to town above I-5 that are pitch black in the early morning. I also think there needs to be an awareness campaign that continually reminds the driving public that main routes like Barbur are also shared with cyclists, pedestrians and TriMet.

All of that being said, it makes me sick to think that another innocent victim lost their life to a careless, irresponsible driver. One life lost, other lives ruined.
Unless significant changes are made to this essential throroughfare into Portland from SW, cyclists and pedestrians will continue to be at significant risk. Now, every time I travel to and from work, I will think of this young woman and another needless tragedy our community has to share.

h
Guest
h

unspeakably sad…

Ermal
Guest
Ermal

@ Did I Miss It: Sorry. I was being obtuse. I was referring to the unsolved Subaru Impreza vs. Two Cyclists incident from a while back. For the record, we’re on our second Forester, an Impreza variant.

Blue
Guest
Blue

At 8:45 this morning, I saw someone being loaded onto an ambulance at the intersection of N. Willamette Blvd and N. Rose Parks Blvd. There’s a 90-degree bend in the road there, and many cyclists and pedestrians cross there. Not sure if victim was on foot or bike, although there was a bike propped up on the street sign post just 5 ft away. Does anyone know anything about this?

Dougie
Guest
Dougie

There was also someone hit by a vehicle this morning about 9:00am on Rosa Parks/ Willamette blvd where the turn is heading east.

Random_rider
Guest
Random_rider

The first person I hear that used the word “accident” to describe this is going to get an immediate education on the definition of the term

Owen Walz (Friends of Barbur)
Guest

We should be hesitant to draw conclusions about this tragedy, and reference the incident respectfully and cautiously in our own dialogue. Whether this could have been avoided on a better designed street will never be known. However, this seems an apt reminder that this environment is built for speed, and lack of impediment to auto travel. As such it may encourage the kind of behavior that led to this great loss.

I’m hearing a lot of good suggestions here. Let’s keep the dialogue going.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Angela’s family and friends.

Owen Walz (Friends of Barbur)
Guest

Regardless of all the factors that contributed to this incident, it seems safe to say that this area desperately needs better pedestrian crossings. A Trimet stop is located across a five lanes of high-speed traffic from a major residential area, and the only support pedestrians receive is an overhead sign and a cut-through in the curb.

I took this photo at the same location a few weeks ago: http://picasaweb.google.com/owenwalz/BarburBlvdSiteVisit1#5544709052562896578

…showing a middle-aged man essentially running for his life to cross after getting off the bus. There’s more than drunk-driving at work here.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Drivers routinely exceed 50 mph on barbur. At that speed minor inattention or poor driving skills can result in a fatality.

I routinely ride in excess of 30 mph and yet I am often passed at very high speeds by most vehicles. They buzz me when I am in the bike lane and accelerate dangerously to get around me when I take a lane.

We have a culture where it has become perfectly acceptable to threaten cyclists and pedestrians with agressive and illegal speeding. Instead of enforcing the idaho stop in Ladd’s addition the Portland police should set up automated traffic enforcement systems throughout the metro area. Not only can these systems generate income but they would save lives.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Barbur is a simply terrible, awful road. I drive it quite regularly, almost always at or below the speed limit, and the speeds at which some drivers pass me are completely insane. I once got road-raged by a guy in an SUV — at the very spot of this tragedy — for daring to keep to the 35mph speed limit in the right lane, even though the left lane was wide open for him to pass.

I have also been rear-ended while stopped for a pedestrian at the extremely well-marked Lane St crossing of Barbur, just a few blocks north of last night’s incident. 30+mph impact, near-total damage to both cars, months of physical therapy for me. This road is dangerous for EVERYONE who uses it, not just cyclists and pedestrians.

I do admit to biking Barbur fairly often, though generally only in the downhill direction when I can go 30+mph. Going uphill, I take Terwilliger. Drivers can be scary there too, but at least the speeds are barely half of Barbur’s. I once had a cop who is also a regular bike commuter confess to me that he won’t ride Barbur even though it would be his most straighforward route to work.

No doubt alcohol, stupidity and arrogance were the primary factors last night, but Barbur’s all-too-freeway-like design just encourages people to drive fast. Its usefulness as an alternate route when I-5 is jammed also encourages folks to drive like they’re on I-5. I too would support a MAJOR redesign of this road, as well as stricter enforcement. Since this is a state highway, OSP as well as PPB could patrol it once in a while.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I should also add that I FREQUENTLY see pedestrians attempting to cross, both within and outside the crosswalk, between the T&C apartments and the southbound bus stop. There is HIGH pedestrian demand here to cross Barbur, and even the well signed and lit crosswalk is inadequate when that section of Barbur makes you feel like you’re entering a freeway.

Cite them
Guest
Cite them

I’d be very willing to videotape and cite drivers wherever they speed or otherwise break the law. If a dozen or so cyclists rotated this effort and showed for court, this could be an effective way to decrease dangerous behavior. Cell phone use alone would yield hundreds of tickets.

Esther
Guest
Esther

Thanks to Owen for the positive dialogue contributions. Ms. Burke and Mr. Pruitt both have friends and family who are no doubt all feeling a great amount of anguish right now.

Mork
Guest
Mork

I have heard from automobile drivers that the only time they watch their speed on Barbur is on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when officers have been known to camp out in the old christmas tree lot a few blocks north of this accident site. I don’t know if this is accurate or not, but it is heartbreaking that the design of the road is such that people drive like maniacs on it with the only consideration being the fear of a ticket on a couple mornings a week. People’s lives are at risk.

I can echo the sentiments of many individuals who have already commented: I avoid Barbur even though it is the quickest route home. Crossing those bridges feels death defying each time I do it. Particularly in the dark, which this time of year seems perpetual.

When I do ride down Barbur, I regularly have to take the traffic lane to avoid pedestrians walking in the bike lane. It’s really time for a change. No one else should die out there.

mabsf
Guest
mabsf

I am so very sorry for Ms Burke’s family. It’s very hard to lose somebody around the holidays.
I hope PDoT and the PPB take a serious look at Barbor and come up with a solution.

Tomas Quinones
Guest

R. A. G. E.

Tomas Quinones
Guest

This guy will never go to jail because it might impact his job duties.

mello yello
Guest
mello yello

It begs the question, how well lit was she? Blinkies front and back can’t be seen from the side as well. What was his blood-alcohol level? Driving record?

mello yello
Guest
mello yello

Look and listen before you leap. Prepare to jump out of the way. That is all. You guys turning a negligent drunk homicide into an agenda to “improve” barbur are trivializing her death.

Andrew Plambeck
Guest
Andrew Plambeck

Okay, coming back into work after a meeting today, I took TriMet from downtown to that intersection and got off to walk down to my office.

In that time, I saw three drivers on cell phones.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Reminds me of a friend who, 10 years ago, wrecked his Civic in the highway 26 tunnel while he was doing 105 mph. At least that was on the freeway.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Every time I sit here and read these stories at work it makes me totally scared to get on my bike and ride home. Sad story.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

the difference is this Ryan…while some sober drivers make bad decisions….ALL drunk drivers do. reaction times are lower, decision processes change. have you ever had a drink in your life? this had nothing to do with lights, sidewalks, or speed limits. This was alcohol. Diminishing it to something as menial as a street design or intraurban speed limit does this woman and her family great disservice. Failing to acknowledge this boys personal responsibility in this matter does great disservice to this woman and her family. He put his foot on the gas pedal and killed her after knowingly consuming enough alcohol to impair him. Don’t change the situation to fit a personal agenda.

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

Jeff, I’m curious why you keep referring to the 28-year-old driver as a “boy”.

Kth
Guest
Kth

So sad.

A few years’ ago, I was looking into applying to a program at the Oregon School of Massage, on Barbur Blvd.

I took the bus there. It dropped me off on the other side of the street. It then took me about eight minutes, and a hell of a lot of gumption, to work up the courage to cross the thing. In places, Barbur Blvd feels like it is as wide as a football pitch, with very, very fast traffic. Crosswalks are few and far between.

I decided against applying to grad school there, because the idea of having to cross that street, often in the dark after work, three times a week just seemed like far too much of a death wish.

So, a business on Barbur lost about $9,000 of my potential spending money, for being located in a car-centric, unsafe location. I hope this sort of feedback will spur other businesses in the area to support more walk and bike friendly infrastructure. Until they do, they simply don’t get my dough.

agoodfirend4
Guest
agoodfirend4

Angela Burke
“I got a really good heart, I just can’t catch a break on Tuesday” (posting of hers).

I remember the last time i saw her. it was July 5th about 9am hot and sunny.,as a few friends where helping pack her car to move to Portland, 2,439 mi away.
While strapping the rack to the back of the car. I told her that her tiers need some air, as I admired her bike. Her best friends father hugged his daughter good by.
we where not sure if it was last good byes or not. the air humid and still smelling of smoke and powder from the night of lights and colors. some how none of us cried. maybe it was the heat or the sun drying them out as quick as they cam out.
…. i could go on
Reluctant to part ways she promised to send postcards from all the sights along the way. a few hugs later and she drove off.
She left behind many fiends from all they way across the country. thanks

Joe
Guest
Joe

If I die remember me ” ghost biker “