Sunset blindness linked to fatal SE Portland crash

Portland Police say a crash that killed a still-unidentified man walking in a crosswalk on Southeast Division Street April 13, 2013, may have been caused by setting-sun glare. (KOIN 6 News)
Portland Police say a crash that killed a still-unidentified man walking in a crosswalk on Southeast Division Street April 13, 2013, may have been caused by setting-sun glare. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A pedestrian hit and killed Saturday in southeast Portland may have been a victim of glare set off by the setting sun.

That’s according to the Portland Police Bureau Sunday.

The fatal collision happened around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, just as the sun was setting at the intersection of SE Division Street and 142nd Avenue. This sun glare is known to cause momentary “sun blindness.”

A man was killed while crossing Division Street in the marked cross walk, heading from the north side of the street to the south side. A local resident said this was a dangerous intersection, especially since there are “no lights on the cross walk.”

The driver of the car, now identified as a 36-year-old man, stayed at the scene. Police report his 30-year-old wife also was in the car at the time.

The driver’s breath test showed .00% Blood Alcohol Content, according to police.

“Investigators do not believe that vehicle speed was a factor,” the Portland Police Bureau reports. Instead, “the vision of the driver may have been affected by the setting sun.”

No arrests or citations have been issued in this crash.

The victim is described by police as “an older adult male.” He had yet to be identified as of Sunday. An autopsy is planned. Authorities hope they can use the results to identify the man and notify his next-of-kin.

This is the 12th traffic-related fatality in Portland in 2013, the bureau reported.

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