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Woman dies after collision with 18-wheeler on SW Madison

Emergency crews at work.
(Photo: JoniPhoto.com)

The Portland Police Bureau have just released information about a very serious collision that happened downtown less than one hour ago.

It occurred at the intersection of SW 3rd and Madison at around 8:30 pm tonight. Police say it appears that the woman — now identified as 28-year-old Kathryn Leah Rickson — was riding her bike eastbound on Madison and the truck was attempting to make a right-hand turn from Madison onto SW 3rd. There is a green colored bike box and a bike lane at this location (as seen in the photo at right). It might also be worth noting that this intersection is just one block from City Hall and Madison is on a slight decline at this location.

The police say the woman’s injuries “may be life threatening” have confirmed that the woman died last night.

Kathryn Rickson on May 3rd.
(Photo: Facebook profile)

Kristin Tufte was walking south on 3rd and came upon the collision right as it happened. She told me via phone a minutes ago that the truck was a large delivery truck and that it was, “half-way through its turn” when the collision occurred. The woman’s body, said Tufte, came to rest between the cab and the rear of the truck. She also added that, “The truck driver was totally distraught.”

I will keep you posted with developments as they come in. I’m sure all the local TV news stations will also have more details and live reports at 11:00 pm. Let’s hope for the best.

UPDATE: I just got this eyewitness account from a reader via email:

“I was riding my bike home from a meeting when I came upon the accident just after it had happened. I came down S.W. Madison and saw the truck stopped part way through a right turn. When I got closer I saw the wrecked bike and then saw that the rider was down. The rear tires of the semi’s cab were pinning one of her legs. Another cyclist stopped around the same time, and indicated he was a paramedic. We had the driver move the truck slowly back, and I got the young woman’s leg out from under the truck tire. But there is no doubt she was severely injured. The bike frame was crushed, seemingly indicating the truck had rolled over it, and she was still on the bike.

The accident occurred right next to the Justice Center, but it seemed like an eternity before emergency services arrived. I’m sure it was only a couple of minutes, but for a few moments it wasn’t clear if the victim was still alive.

As the news has reported, the truck driver was extremely distraught. For all the people at OLive [OregonLive] crowing about who “wins” when a truck hits a bicyclist, the obvious answer is ‘no one.'”

UPDATE, 5/17 at 9:20 am:
A source at the Portland Police Bureau told me via telephone this morning that the woman died late last night. Her name has not been released yet. The PPB is currently investigating the collision; but they did tell me that it was a green light situation and that both vehicle operators were in motion when the collision occurred (thus rendering the bike box — which is designed to help in a red light situation — relatively moot).

The truck was a 43-foot, 18-wheeler (see photos of it just moments after the collision, here). The PPB says the truck had its signal on and that the woman was struck by the front portion of the cab. This is significant, because, according to the PPB, most right hook collisions involve the trailer and rear of the of the truck rolling over the victim. The PPB suspects that the cab of the truck likely moved to the left just prior to making the right (to go south on 3rd). “We’re trying to ascertain why the driver of the truck didn’t see the cyclist and why the cyclist didn’t see the truck,” said my source. The PPB are interviewing witnesses.

As is standard procedure, a citation has not been issued in this collision. The PPB will hand over the investigation to the District Attorney and the DA will decide if criminal charges are appropriate. The PPB has yet to release an update with the woman’s name. Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 5/17 at 10:23 AM: The woman has been identified as 28-year-old Kathryn Leah Rickson. According to her Facebook profile, Rickson grew up in Rhode Island, when to art school in New York, attended both Oxford and Portland State University. She was employed by Madison House, a pregnancy resource and support center in Southeast Portland.


Here are a few photos I took at the scene this morning:

Approaching SW 3rd on Madison…

The corner (orange paint marks the tires rear tires of the truck):

This is still looking eastbound. The whitish area in the center of the crosswalk is where the woman’s body came to rest:

For images from the scene just moments after it happened, see this blog post.

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