Tolman St. motorbike rider critically hurt after slamming into car

by: David F. Ashton Witnesses say the rider of this apparently unlicensed “toy” mini-motorbike drove full-speed into traffic on S.E. 82nd Avenue on July 8th, as the afternoon rush hour was winding down.

It's unclear why a 19 year-old female, with purse slung over her shoulder, ran what looked to be an unlicensed mini-motorcycle into the side of a car; she was eastbound on S.E. Tolman Street onto 82nd Avenue of Roses, without stopping. It happened on Thursday, July 7, at about 5:15 pm.

Eyewitness John Priest was showing a customer used cars in a dealership lot at the intersection when the accident occurred. What first caught his attention, he said, was the high-pitched whine of a small gas engine - sounding like a lawn mower - heading up S.E. Tolman Street toward 82nd Avenue.

'Then, I saw the young woman ride up into the intersection,' Priest said. 'She didn't slow down one little bit - she proceeded through the stop sign like it wasn't there. The mini-bike hit a car, southbound on S.E. 82nd, in the outside lane.'

Priest said it looked like the driver of the car didn't have a chance to avoid the collision. 'It appeared that the car was driving safely - and it IS 82nd Avenue, for crying out loud! If the mini-bike hadn't hit this car, it would have probably been hit by a vehicle in one of the three other lanes of traffic.'

Priest said the girl on the mini-bike may have tried turning away at the very last second. 'And, it looked like the driver of the car tried to swerve to miss her; but it was too late for them to avoid the collision.'

Another witness said he heard the approach of the mini-bike 'with the engine running at full speed and slowing down - then a thud.' As he called 9-1-1, he said he walked over to where the mini-bike and the 19-year-old woman lay on the pavement. 'She wasn't moving and looked to be in bad shape.' She was transported to a hospital, and her name and condition are currently unknown, due to recently enacted privacy laws.

Witnesses in the area other than Priest agreed with his account of the accident. One pointed out what they believed to be the mini-bike rider's still-laced shoe - thrown nearly 40 feet into a used car lot; her purse lay inside the lot's fence.

Still others at the scene said the mini-bike rider was motionless while paramedics prepared her for transport, indicating she had not regained consciousness at that time.

S.E. 82nd Avenue remained closed for several hours while the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Major Crash Team took over the investigation.

'The [mini-bike] rider apparently disregarded a stop sign at S.E. 82nd, and rode right in front of a vehicle traveling southbound on S.E. 82nd Avenue,' later confirmed PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King.

'The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and cooperated fully with the investigation. Several witnesses remained at the scene and confirmed the car driver's account of how the crash occurred.'

As pointed out by Priest, it did appear as if the damage was to the passenger-side front quarter-panel near the headlight - there was no visible front-end damage, indicating the car was struck on the side by the mini-motocycle, although the official police release says that it was the car that struck the cycle.

'The [mini-bike] rider was not wearing a helmet, and is believed to have suffered severe injuries,' King added. 'The woman was transported to an area hospital, where she is believed to be in critical condition. No citations have been issued, and no arrests have been made.'