Truck blows stop light on 72nd; puts two in hospital

by: David F. Ashton, Witnesses say the big truck hit this Qwest van so hard, it skidded over 100 feet before stopping at the curb.

'I was waiting to cross the street,' Sammy Harris tells us, 'and the driver of the big truck over didn't even slow down for the red light. He slammed into the van so hard, the ladder and pieces flew off everywhere.'

The accident at SE 72nd Ave at Duke St. was more than a fender-bender. 'This could have been a fatal accident,' reports the traffic officer on duty.

On Wednesday, October 4th, about 2 pm, a truck, reportedly owned by Metro Interiors, was going southbound on 72nd Avenue. Witnesses say the big hauling truck was going fast--really fast--before it blew through a red traffic signal light at S.E. Duke Street.

Sadly, the intersection wasn't empty. Unfortunately for the driver and passenger of a van owned by Qwest Communications, they were at that moment eastbound on S.E. Duke Street, through a green light.

The big truck struck the Qwest van on the driver's side with a shuttering blow. The impact was so severe, the Qwest truck skidded sideways, south from the point of impact, well over 100 feet before grinding to a stop, according to our unofficial measurement.

Within minutes, Portland Fire and Rescue crews were on scene, using the Hurst Tool ('Jaws of Life') to extricate the driver of the Qwest truck.

Another vehicle, a white minivan, was facing north, stopped on SE 72nd Ave at the red light at Duke. The big truck tore off the front passenger side quarter-panel of that vehicle.

'It happened so quickly,' the shaken minivan driver tells us. 'It's like the big truck and the Qwest van split; they slid by both sides of me.'

That driver, who asked not to be identified, said she wasn't injured. 'I got out of my car and went over to the truck that got hit. I saw the woman in the Qwest truck. She didn't look so good. I feel so bad for her, and I hope she's OK.'

The driver of the big truck was cited for 'Failure to obey a Traffic Control Device.' New privacy laws affecting hospitals prevented our learning the condition of the victims in the crash.