A week ago, a prominent Portland businesswoman lost her life at the intersection of Southwest Barbur Boulevard and Southwest Miles Street. The 55-year-old was driving a minivan along Barbur when her vehicle swerved into oncoming traffic and slammed head-on into a city dump truck.
After the violent motor vehicle accident, witnesses tried to rescue the woman from her crushed van. Their efforts were prevented by the flames that quickly engulfed the vehicle, and because the vehicle’s doors were stuck and her legs were pinned.
Three people tried to get the woman out of the minivan, but said she was unresponsive and appeared to have been killed by the impact of the crash.
“Flames were rolling along the top of the inside of the car and we knew that we weren’t going to be able to get her out,” one of the would-be rescuers told a TV station.
So he and the others gave up their attempt and instead kept people from getting near the vehicle and adding to the incident’s toll.
According to another news report, the Oregon Department of Transportation later tweeted this comment following the fiery accident: “speed, aggressive and distracted driving are big factors in crashes.”
That comment prompted a quick, pointed response from the group, Go-By-Bike: “so are roads that encourage those behaviors.”
ODOT replied that it was unsure how streets encourage speeding, or distracted driving or aggressive driving.
While we don’t take a position in the back-and-forth exchange, we do note that those who are harmed by aggressive, distracted or speeding drivers can, with the aid of an attorney, make an effective legal claim for compensation for medical bills, lost income and other damages.