PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man walking in the bike lane or shoulder of Northeast Halsey was hit by a driver so hard he flew about 200 feet to the intersection of NE 119th, police told KOIN 6 News. The driver did not stop and an active investigation is in progress.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, was rushed to the hospital around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and underwent emergency surgery. He died early Thursday morning, just 2 days before his 41st birthday.
“There were several cars that passed by the individual without any issue,” PPB Sgt. Brett Barnum said. “Another car that passed by, that was observed on some video footage that we have, ended up striking the pedestrian causing severe massive injuries.”
There are no witnesses who stayed on scene and there was little evidence including surveillance video. Investigators said the hit-and-run driver was in a sedan or small SUV, but the color is not known. The car likely has damage on the passenger side windshield or on the body of the car.
“This individual was our 57th traffic fatality in the city of Portland,” Barnum said.
There has been a spike in traffic deaths in 2020, officials said. In 2014, when the PPB Traffic Division had more staff, there were 28 deaths.
“The Portland Police Bureau is trying to do their best but we need people to drive safely,” he said. “The Traffic Division is about ready to take a major slash and cut in personel again and my fear is that we are going to see even a further rise in traffic fatatlies.”
Barnum said the number of fatalities can be cut by having “an ample number” of officers around to keep drivers aware.
“In 2020, with probably less miles driven by people because of COVID, we are up to 57 traffic fatalities. So we have over double the number of traffic fatalities in a year where we have less miles traveled on the road — and we are doing it with only 35 bodies now.”
Barnum said if more staff is cut from the PPB Traffic Division, people in the community need to be more responsible for safety.
“Be responsible over the holiday season,” he said. “Think about your ride shares.”
If anyone has information related to this incident, please contact Officer Maynard at Phillip.Maynard@portlandoregon.gov or 503.823.2216.