“A car that was driving really fast and really out of control just came and made contact with that person at full speed.”
— Eric Lindsay, witness and responder
This morning a man was killed when someone driving a car slammed into him. The Portland Police Bureau says the person driving the car abandoned his vehicle after the collision, ran away on foot, and remains on the loose.
This is the second person to die at the hands of a driver while walking on McLoughlin Blvd in the last eight months. On February 6th, 34-year-old Joshua Stanley was killed when a car user hit him at the intersection of McLoughlin and SE Franklin, about 0.7 miles north of this morning’s fatality. McLoughlin is State Highway 99 E and is about 100-feet wide in these sections with six lanes plus two wide breakdown shoulders.
According to the PPB tally, this is the 43rd traffic fatality so far this year. We had 33 deaths by this date in 2020.
I spoke with someone who saw this morning’s collision. Eric Lindsay was the person who first called 911. He told us it happened just a few yards west of the intersection of Southeast McLoughlin Blvd and Holgate, on a section of road that’s a multi-lane off-ramp that allows southbound highway drivers to head east across Holgate without having to make a left-turn across oncoming traffic.
Eric said he was in a car on Holgate facing west, waiting to turn right (north) onto McLoughlin, when something caught his attention. “A car that was driving really fast and really out of control just came and made contact with that person at full speed.” The driver had been traveling southbound on McLaughlin and had entered the Holgate off-ramp lanes and Eric said the driver had already made contact with the guardrail above the bluff prior to hitting the man in the street.
“I was with this person when they died… we should honor him. He certainly had people in his life who loved him and whom he loved.”
— Eric Lindsay, witness and responder
Eric, who happens to be trained as a first responder and has worked as an EMT and rural firefighter said, “It is the most violent thing I have ever witnessed in person happen to another human body. I mean, this person just flew and cartwheeled and crumpled and bounced in a really awful way.” After the collision, Eric was able to cross over the intersection and attend to the victim.
Eric is disturbed by what he saw and told me it makes him even more “angry at ODOT for all their dangerous roads.” He’s also angry about how this crash is such a tragic illustration of how our society isn’t taking care of its most vulnerable people. While he doesn’t know for sure, Eric said he has a strong hunch that the person who died in his arms today was living with the many other people who have made makeshift homes out of tents and tarps along the bluffs above the Willamette River south of Ross Island Bridge.
Eric said that he felt even the driver was probably not in a very good place even before the collision. “The person who hit him, you know, my guess is that person was having a nihilistic day or moment. I don’t know… but sometimes you see people on the road and it’s like you can tell, they don’t care either in a different sort of way. They don’t care about themselves, either.”
While he was trying to keep the scene safe during the confusion before first responders showed up, Eric said another person crossed McLoughlin on foot and become very distressed when she saw who had been hit. The woman, who Eric also assumed lived on the bluff, was so distraught she stopped and laid down in the middle of the street. (Thankfully, Eric encouraged her to move to a safer place.)
Now Eric just wants people to remember the victim — this person he’d never met but is now forever connected to.
“I was with this person when they died, and was touching their body. They might have fallen on some hard times but we should honor him. He certainly had people in his life who loved him and whom he loved.”
Police are still searching for the driver. He’s described as, “shirtless, with long hair pulled into a bun on the top of his head.” Call 911 if you see the person or call the PPB non-emergency line (823-3333) if you have any information about what happened.
UPDATE, 12/16: Police have found the driver, 26-year-old Gregory M. Anderson, and booked him into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Manslaughter in the First Degree and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver-Felony.