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Injuries, death, and damage: A weekend traffic violence roundup

Posted by on December 16th, 2019 at 1:35 pm

The driver of this car ran into a light pole, a business, and a person on the sidewalk near SE Morrison and Grand on Friday night before she was arrested for DUI and other charges.
(Photos: PPB)

I’ve been following local and regional traffic crashes for a while now and I’m still not numb to the extraordinary impact they have on our city. The damage to people and property is astounding.

Below are just the crashes and collisions I’ve heard about since Friday evening:

Friday, December 13th, 7:06 pm: Drunk driver on a rampage

A pedestrian walking on the sidewalk was seriously injured when a car struck her in the Buckman Neighborhood.

On Friday, December 13, 2019 at 7:06p.m., Central Precinct Officers were dispatched to a report of a pedestrian struck by a car near the intersection of Southeast Grand Avenue and Southeast Belmont Street. When officers arrived they found an adult female with serious injuries. Medical responded and transported her to the hospital…The driver of a car that struck a pedestrian, building, and light pole has been arrested and charged with multiple crimes.

Officers conducting the investigation determined that the driver of the vehicle crashed into a light pole, then backed up and tried to leave northbound on Southeast Grand Avenue. The driver then swerved up onto the sidewalk at Southeast Morrison Street, striking the pedestrian and the building. The driver then tried to back up and leave again before passers by yelled at her to stop. The vehicle, a 2016 Subaru Legacy Outback, was towed from the scene.

Central Precinct and Traffic Division Officers booked Sabrina R. Hall, 25, of Vancouver, Washington (photo), into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Assault in the Third Degree, Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver-injury (C Felony), Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver-property damage (A Misdemeanor), Criminal Mischief in the First Degree (2 counts), and Reckless Driving.

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Sunday December 15th at 12:00 pm: Driver injured after slamming into pole

Sunday, December 15th at 2:01 pm: Streetcar stopped due to collision

Sunday, December 15th at 10:37 pm: Fatal crash in the Lloyd

North Precinct officers responded to a report of a vehicle crashed into a tree at Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and Northeast Lloyd Boulevard. Medical crews responded and determined the driver was deceased. Initial information is that no other vehicles were involved. Officers closed off the area and called for the MCT, which is responding.

This is the 47th person to die on Portland streets this year. We haven’t had more fatalities than this in a year since 1997 when 49 people died.

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Monday, December 16th at 5:24 am: Fatal collision in Happy Valley

Deputies responded to the report of a vehicle-vs.-bicycle traffic collision at the intersection of SE 142nd Ave. and SE Sunnyside Rd. in Happy Valley.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies — some contracted to Happy Valley Police — arrived at the location, along with medical personnel from Clackamas Fire District #1 and American Medical Response.

The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and was cooperative with investigators.

The woman who was riding the bicycle has not been positively identified at this time. She is believed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury and was transported by ambulance to an area trauma center.

Based on initial information from witnesses, the involved driver, a second bicyclist who was with the female, and roadway evidence, investigators believe the bicyclist was headed north on SE 142nd Avenue when she entered the intersection on a red light. She rode through the red light into intersection and began to turn left on SE Sunnyside Road when a vehicle traveling west on SE Sunnyside Road struck her.

The second bicyclist told authorities that the female bicyclist had consumed alcohol. The bicyclist was not wearing a helmet.

This isn’t uncommon. You’d be shocked (and depressed and scared probably) if you knew how many bad things happen out there every day. Thankfully it’s holiday season because local police agencies have stepped up enforcement to battle the rampant drinking and driving that’s going on.

The more I see the scope of traffic violence in our region, the more I am committed to more carfree spaces (especially in central city) and using more sticks and fewer carrots to get people to drive less.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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bikeninja
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bikeninja

On top of all these tragic horror’s, I read that the Unipiper had been hit ( but not badly injured) by a car while riding his bike ( not his unicycle). Do these auto zombies have no sense of decency any more.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I don’t love the “Unipiper” moniker. I know he’s a bagpiper who rides a unicycle, but it sounds so much like “Unabomber,” the maniac who killed and maimed people. Also a pipe bomb is a type of bomb, though not the type favored by the Unabomber, but that’s another reference to killing and maiming.

Sorry if I sound like a snowflake, but I can’t help making the association.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

I simply cannot wrap my head around what kind of worldview a hit and run driver possesses.

Is it simply the psychology of the individual, meaning that there are just some people with no sense of responsibility, community, or empathy?

Is it that they know there is no enforcement or threat of significant repercussion – which suggests only negative consequences keep people well-behaved?

Is it a conditioned behavior? A combination of factors of both? I seriously do not understand it.

I ask this because I think it is an important aspect to transportation planning – how people use things and what kind of people are using them. It’s difficult to engineer away behaviors, especially if they are fairly hard-wired.

I’d love to hear opinions because I suspect they will be very different and from an intellectual perspective, it me be illuminating.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I suspect in most cases, it can be summed up by either “panic” or “wasted”, according to the situation.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

Quick Google search shows hit and run up 60% over the past decade. Any explanation for why people flee after crashes should incorporate this increase. Are Americans much more prone to panic or getting wasted now than in years past?

Having written that, I’m going to propose my own pet notion that has no supporting data other than sort of hitch-hiking on the deaths of despair epidemic that is part of the lowering of US lifespans. Perhaps ever more of our motorists are on the economic edge, living below all reasonable expectations of security so they both don’t care about the rules of a system that is oppressing them and don’t have the resources to cover the cost of the damage they have done, so they run.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Probably not wasted, but possibly panic. You provide one theory for why that could be true.

David Hampsten
Guest

In reply to motrg, as you would expect, there are a lot of reasons, many of which have to do with “the commons” and who owns it, who controls it, and who believes they have a greater right to it than others. Planners and governments do their best to help the community take ownership of the commons, which includes the public right of way, to help as many people as possible, knowing there will always be scofflaws, as there always have been since civilization began.

I’ll give you one example (out of an infinite number): In Salem Oregon about 20-30 years ago the local police conducted an experiment, essentially a sting, but to collect data rather than necessarily give out tickets. As you may know, there is a mainline railroad track through the middle of downtown Salem which Amtrak and UP use heavily. It has lots of gated railroad crossings every block or so. Drivers routinely try to drive around the gates and inevitably crashes occur. So one day UP allowed a local sheriff to ride on a single engine moving very slowly with several video cameras. As expected, most drivers stopped and waited patiently for the engine to go by. But about 20 drivers did not, at various points they crossed illegally, and were almost immediately pulled over by waiting police officers. But instead of giving warnings and fines, the police interviewed each law-breaking driver and did detailed background checks on them. In almost every case, each of the 20 drivers had no insurance, suspended licenses, a history of DUII and/or crashes. They were also almost universally poor, had no health insurance, spotty work records, and their cars badly needed repairs.

Basically, they nothing to lose by breaking the law.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I do not have any difficulty understanding how hit-and-run drivers operate. First of all, you’re nearly always dealing with someone who has already done something grossly negligent: driving drunk, too fast, or recklessly. Since already the normal circuitry that should restrain irresponsible behavior has failed, should it be surprising that taking responsibility for those same actions – which is not even fully morally possible if someone gets killed – also goes out the window?

To be sure, the consequences for this kind of thing are nowhere near severe enough. But they are severe enough that many people are going to want to avoid them. Guilt, hours and hours in court, jail time, public exposure, a criminal record that will haunt them for life – sure, a lot of drivers aren’t going to want to face the consequences. Also, even those who might in a calmer moment accept that they need to take responsibility might be in some stage of grief (denial or bargaining, e.g.) where they haven’t fully processed what they just did. Add intoxicants to the mix, and many aren’t thinking clearly enough that they will still get caught. None of this is okay, but it’s not like it should be hard to understand.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Cowardice is the primary factor. Most people are cowards, and crashes like these just show it.

Rudi V
Guest
Rudi V

I feel like a growing portion of the public have been “on the run” from life for years. Everything that can be mortgaged has been, all bills have been referred to collection, and every attempt and numbing has been made At that point running is just the default response.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

“what kind of worldview a hit and run driver possesses.”

At the risk of poking a philosophical bees’ nest, I’ll guess, “Romanticism per Jean-Jaques Rousseau”

soren
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soren

The term “snowflake” was used by pro-slavery folk in MO to refer to abolitionists. I’m not sure its current meaning is all that different from the original one.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Do you have a reference for that? Regardless, I am quite confident the contemporary meaning is distinct, as it specifically refers to a modern supposed trait of “progressives”, one which would have made no sense in an abolitionist context.

q
Guest
q

What was notable to me about the Unipiper crash was the significant number of comments he got attacking HIM. From what I could tell, the driver drove backwards out the entrance of the parking lot, without looking, out from behind a car parked on the street, then continued in reverse backwards against traffic directly into the Unipiper. In his video, you can hear (due to rain) that he braked the instant the car appeared, and he didn’t have time to evade it–remember the driver didn’t just pull out across his path, he or she drove directly into him. Still, he was criticized, as were people who defended him.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The O’live comment section is trash. It’s important to note that many commenters on there will:

1. Defend drivers under all circumstances
2. Defend the drivers of larger vehicles over those in smaller ones
3. Always blame cyclists, regardless of the situation
4. Blame Portland leaders and/or Kate Brown for all other problems

q
Guest
q

I agree. But the comments I saw were on instagram, which is about as friendly a place as any on the internet. That’s what got my attention.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Remember that cyclists are less than 5% of the general population. Outside of Portland, the numbers are even lower. Most people are indifferent to us, and a good portion of the US actively hates us. Additionally, most Americans are very ignorant about traffic laws. I don’t find the comments to be that surprising.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Being identified as a bicyclist will give you a very small feel for it must be like to be a racial or religious minority since as noted we are a very small part of the population. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had relatives and friends who know I commute by bike and ride a lot tell me some story that clearly shows me that they just plain don’t like bicycle riders and define us all by that out of control person who runs every traffic light, blows through every stop sign, and rides in the middle of the road to impeded traffic whenever possible. Many of co-workers think I’m crazy to ride to work.

Robert Ping
Guest
Robert Ping

My 85-yr old Dad was t-boned by a hit and run driver (black car with no lights on) at night in NE couple of weeks ago – broken neck that needed surgery, broken clavicle and minor head injury. He was knocked out cold and woke up alone in the intersection minutes later. He is recovering…

turnips
Guest
turnips

a friend of mine was hit by a driver who blew a stop sign this weekend in northeast. busted her face up pretty good. driver at least had the decency to stick around, though.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

The sad thing is that the bare minimum (decency) is not considered exemplary behavior.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

oops. “now”.

X
Guest
X

Was it on NE Going St?

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Robert, that is lousy! Hope your Dad can bounce back, but that gets tougher with age.
J. Do this every week if you can stand it; at least for a couple of weeks. Time to call out the madness. I had a BMW once, so I know that car culture is really an addiction.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

An intoxicated cyclist without a helmet blows a red light. Probably not using any lights or high-vis gear either. A perfect storm of bad decisions, and now the poor driver has to live with this too. Probably just someone trying to get to work.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

You gotta be really drunk (at 5am?) to mess up this intersection. My first thought is that they thought they could make the green and they didn’t notice in their haste that it turned red. Sure it’s a bit downhill so you can get some speed, but there’s nothing obstructing your view of the intersection. It’s not even a tricky intersection, just a huge one with fast-moving traffic. People don’t usually put themselves in these places intentionally, so I assume the rider thought they checked everything and that it was safe enough for them to proceed. Now we’ll never know.

I used to go through here the same direction every day with my kid in the bike trailer.

With the amount of high-speed traffic it doesn’t take a lot to get yourself killed. The biggest problem I had was with people making right turns.

It’s a shame that the driver will have that trauma. And it’s a shame that we don’t have better infrastructure. Sunnyside could easily be calmed by changing the intersections to round-abouts. We never should have built a freeway coddling the suburbs. But now anther vulnerable road user is dead.

Resopmok
Guest
Resopmok

It’s true, every time I get in my car, I think about how great my responsibility is as a driver since the vehicle I am about to pilot has the capacity to easily maim and kill. This is one reason I consider carefully whether I really need to drive for that trip. I figure the fewer time I can put myself in that position of responsibility, the less likely it is I find myself in the same situation as the driver who collided with the cyclist. It is certainly less convenient and less comfortable for me to ride my bike to work almost every day, but it frees my conscious, my legs, and my lungs.

Joe
Guest
Joe

so many cagers texting and driving and driving in green bike box downtown 🙁

Candor Cane
Guest
Candor Cane

Adding to the fire: I got hit by an SUV biking home from work on Wednesday. Cars were parked right up the corner on Salmon Street, and the lady who hit me admitted she didn’t even look when she moved through her stop sign. Directly into my body.

Miraculously, I didn’t break anything and I am recovering. ONLY horrific bruising, a gash that was deep enough to expose my shin bone and feeling generally like I got hit by a 3000 lb steel box. I haven’t had the energy to really examine bike damage yet…

Joe
Guest
Joe

Candor Cane
Adding to the fire: I got hit by an SUV biking home from work on Wednesday. Cars were parked right up the corner on Salmon Street, and the lady who hit me admitted she didn’t even look when she moved through her stop sign. Directly into my body.Miraculously, I didn’t break anything and I am recovering. ONLY horrific bruising, a gash that was deep enough to expose my shin bone and feeling generally like I got hit by a 3000 lb steel box. I haven’t had the energy to really examine bike damage yet…Recommended 1

hope you heal fast lotta clueless ppl not caring about anything or anyone.

Joe
Guest
Joe

hey John, can we please get uber and lyft drivers to not drop ppl off natio parkway bike buffer
almost got smashed near fountain Friday 13th 🙁

ricochet
Guest
ricochet

hey j.maus, how are you gonna quote several whole paragraphs but not link to the original article or credit the author?

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Resopmok
It’s true, every time I get in my car, I think about how great my responsibility is as a driver since the vehicle I am about to pilot has the capacity to easily maim and kill. This is one reason I consider carefully whether I really need to drive for that trip. I figure the fewer time I can put myself in that position of responsibility, the less likely it is I find myself in the same situation as the driver who collided with the cyclist. It is certainly less convenient and less comfortable for me to ride my bike to work almost every day, but it frees my conscious, my legs, and my lungs.Recommended 5

Good thinking!

The probability of crashing is proportional to usage of vehicle.

And cycling is humanizing!