PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two people were hospitalized after they were hit by a car while trying to cross West Burnside early Saturday morning, said police. The driver, identified as 39-year-old Ian Cupples, was arrested at the scene for DUII, assault and reckless driving.
The crash happened just after 1 a.m. near Northwest 16th Avenue. The busy intersection has construction fencing up on one side, making it difficult to cross. Witnesses said there were a lot of people crossing the street outside the crosswalks last night when a man and woman were hit. The woman suffered minor injuries, but the man lost consciousness and seemed to be seriously hurt. He was sent to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.
Wesley Mahan lives near the intersection where the crash happened.
“My condo was filled with red and blue flashing lights,” said Mahan. “I counted 8 police cars and counted 8 flares blocking off NW 16th and 15th.”
A nearby camper heard the crash and said police set out flares due to the heavy fog. Another man told him that the woman was pushed out of her shoes as far as 30 feet and the man was thrown into the air.
“The police were there for at least 3-4 hours in the middle of the night,” said Mahan.
Those familiar with the street said it’s difficult to cross under the best of conditions.
“It’s kind of a confusing situation because sometimes cars miss the first traffic light here, and then hit the second traffic light and stop there,” said Mahan. “So, you can start to walk across, but you still have to watch your step.”
With construction fencing blocking normal walkways, the hazards are everywhere.
“There is no sidewalk for pedestrians so people walking along Burnside have to somehow either walk in the roadway or run across the road,” said Mahan.
“The only way I’d walk around it is that I’d be right on the side of the street there, which might make me vulnerable,” said Horatio Salinas who frequents the neighborhood.
This was not the first time the driver, Cupples, has faced accusations of drinking and driving. He pleaded no contest to a DUI charge in March of 2011. Court records show it was dismissed after he entered into a diversion program.
The investigation closed West Burnside in both directions between Northwest 14th Avenue and Northwest 17th Avenue for several hours.
KOIN 6 News will update this story when more information becomes available.