I often feel that what’s often lost in our debates about transportation projects, policies and funding is a conversation about the staggering toll driving extracts from our city.
In 48 hours starting last Thursday evening, I noticed a stream of police alerts come across my computer. It was a startling spate of incidents that underscored this toll. They involved people using cars dangerously and without respect or consideration for others.
As we have conversations about how to invest precious resources in our transportation system, we must keep in mind the many — and very serious — negative consequences that comes with our car-centered culture and the infrastructure that facilitates it.
48 Hours in Portland…
Thursday March 9th at 11:19 pm: Fatal Hit and Run Crash Investigation Underway on Southeast Stark Street
East Precinct responded to the report of a pedestrian struck by a driver at Southeast 148th Avenue and Stark Street. The 9-1-1 caller reported that the driver fled the area in a dark-colored vehicle, last seen southbound on 148th Avenue. Officers and medical personnel arrived and located a pedestrian deceased at the scene and evidence of a vehicle collision.
Friday March 10th at 4:45 am:
The suspect involved in this fatal hit and run crash turned himself in to police. 23-year-old Israel Aldama-Sanchez was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run). Aldama-Sanchez will be arraigned on Monday in Multnomah County Court.
9:46 pm: Drunk Driver Crashes into Police Car Blocking Traffic at Crash Investigation
East Precinct and Traffic Division officers were investigating a crash in the 3800 block of Northeast 82nd Avenue, where a pedestrian was hit by a driver.
While officers were conducting a crash investigation, a driver crashed into a marked police car that was blocking the northbound lanes of traffic. The police car’s emergency lights were on at the time of the crash, no officers were inside the vehicle.
Officers contacted the driver, determined that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and took the driver into custody.
22-year-old Kiri Anna Guthridge was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) and Reckless Driving.
The pedestrian injured in the initial crash suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
10:34 pm: Friday Night Crash Injures Three People – One Driver Cited for DUII, Another Driver May Face Charges
Central Precinct and Traffic Division officers responded to the report of a serious traffic crash on Southwest Naito Parkway at Market Street.
Officers, firefighters and medical personnel arrived and found four vehicles involved in the crash – one vehicle rolled over. Five people suffered injuries, three required transport by ambulance to Portland hospitals.
Traffic officers learned that 34-year-old Maika Otsuki was driving a gray Infiniti SUV northbound on Naito when Otsuki veered into oncoming traffic, collided with a tree on the westside of the street, then crashed into a 2009 Toyota Camry being driven by 51-year-old Heidi Dirkse-Graw.
The collision caused the Camry to spin and crash into a Red Subaru Forester driven by 38-year-old Ernest Syes. The Infiniti rolled over, landing behind the Toyota Camry and crashed into a fourth car, a 2009 Ford Focus driven by 27-year-old Carissa Cunningham.
Otsuki, Dirkse-Graw and her passenger 34-year-old Richard Graw, were all transported by ambulance to Portland hospitals with various injuries that were serious but not life-threatening.
Officers determined that Dirkse-Graw was impaired by alcohol, so she was issued a criminal citation for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII). Otsuki’s driving behavior remains under investigation and she may face charges upon completion of the investigation. Neither Syes or Cunningham were seriously injured.
Saturday, March 11th at 11:34 pm: Suspect Arrested After Traffic Pursuit in East Precinct Late Saturday Night
On Saturday March 11, 2017, at 11:34 p.m., East Precinct officers attempted to stop a driver in a red 2000 Honda Civic in the area of Southeast 113th Avenue and Division Street but the driver began to elude the police.
The driver led police on a chase in the neighborhood as officers attempted to use numerous pursuit intervention techniques to end the pursuit. At approximately 11:47 p.m., officers were able to get the driver stopped at Southeast 112th Avenue and Division Street where he was taken into custody.
22-year-old Levi Denison was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charge of Attempt to Elude by Vehicle, Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Reckless Driving. Additionally, Denison was lodged on a parole violation.