Five die in spate of accidents
Odd circumstances characterize many of the crashes since July 1
Five people have been killed and six hospitalized in a series of motor vehicle accidents in the Portland area since the beginning of the month - some with unusual overtones.
The drivers have ranged from a lawyer and a Gresham police officer to an unlicensed 15-year-old and a professional truck driver. In two other cases, a woman drove down a sidewalk and an unoccupied sport utility vehicle ran over a 5-year-old boy.
In addition to the boy, the victims have included three pedestrians, including two out-of-towners.
Portland police are still investigating why Heather Lynn Quinter, a 30-year-old lawyer, drove on sidewalks for several blocks before pulling onto Northeast 28th Avenue and hitting two pedestrians around 2:35 a.m. Saturday. The pedestrians, Elizabeth M. Kenny, 26, and her boyfriend, Aaron R. Fishbone, 25, were seriously injured and are hospitalized. Both of them were visiting Portland from Stonybrook, N.Y.
According to police, Quinter claims she cannot remember anything about the accident. Quinter and her boyfriend were driving southbound on 28th Avenue from Sandy Boulevard when, for unknown reasons, she began driving on the sidewalk just north of Northeast Everett Street. When Quinter merged back onto 28th at Northeast Davis Street, she hit Kenny and Fishbone, who were crossing the avenue.
Police say Quinter did not appear to be under the influence of intoxicants. The name of the boyfriend, who also is a lawyer, was not released by press time.
Two fatal accidents occurred on July 1. In the first one, Portland resident Richard Lee Wilmath, 32, was killed when he was struck by a car while crossing the 4800 block of Southeast 82nd Avenue around 3:15 p.m. The car was driven by Sergey Grechko, 15, who had a learner's permit but not a driver's license. Police cited Grechko for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
In the second July 1 accident, Gresham police officer Joshua Linstrom, 29, was headed north on Northeast 188th Avenue at 9:25 p.m. to check out a report of speeding drivers when his patrol car collided with a minivan carrying three men heading west on Northeast Glisan Street.
Portland resident Marino Sanchez-Sanchez, 29, who was sitting in the rear passenger seat, was taken to Oregon Health and Science University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the minivan, Portland resident Diego D. Martinez, 33, and front-seat passenger Jose Luis Bahena, 27, of Vancouver, Wash., both were taken to OHSU and treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Linstrom, who was hired by the Gresham police department in 2005, was treated for minor injuries at Portland Adventist Medical Center.
The Portland Police Bureau is investigating the accident to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Linstrom has hired former Multnomah County prosecutor Jim McIntyre, now an attorney in private practice, to represent him.
Two fatal accidents occurred on July 7. In the first one, Rudolph Randall, a 49-year old truck driver from Caldwell, Idaho, was killed when the truck he was driving westbound on Northeast Marine Drive left the roadway and jammed itself under the Interstate 205 onramp. Police are investigating whether the accident was medically-related.
In the second July 7 accident, a 5-year-old boy died after being run over by an an unoccupied sport-utility vehicle that rolled backward out of a driveway in the 5000 block of Southwest Sweeney Street. The boy's mother is a home health nurse who was tending to a client at the time of the accident. Police did not release her name or the name of her son by press time.
In the most recent accident, one man was killed and two others were injured in a three-car crash early Sunday in the 3800 block of Southeast Tualitan Valley Highway in Hillsboro. Paul Aguilera-Belman, 23, a passenger in one of the cars, died at Emanuel Hospital. Two drivers, Eridani Chavez and Juan Diego-Chincoya, were hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries. Police believe alcohol was a factor.