PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of 2 pedestrians seriously injured after being hit by a car on the Burnside Bridge Sunday afternoon died in the hospital, officials said.
Officials on Monday announced the victim was 36-year-old George Ben “Benjamin” Carlson. Carlson and 35-year-old Bridget Larrabee, who was injured in the crash, were reportedly struck by a driver shortly after 2 p.m., Portland Police Bureau said.
Carlson and Larrabee lived together in NE Portland. They were walking on the south sidewalk near the west side bridge tender house when they were hit.
The driver has been identified as 59-year-old Douglas Walker of Beaverton.
“When I first saw it I couldn’t believe there is a car on the sidewalk here,” witness Lane Jenson said. “Airbags deployed, the window was shattered, there was a man on the ground, an elderly man who appeared to be getting CPR from 3 bystanders.”
An initial investigation revealed Walker was driving eastbound on the bridge when he left the road and drove up onto the south sidewalk. He hit Carlson and Larrabee and crashed into the bridge railing, Portland Police Bureau said.
Walker stayed on the scene and cooperated with authorities. A field sobriety test was given, but police said alcohol didn’t appear to be a factor in the crash.
Officials say he possibly suffered a medical event which caused him to leave the roadway.
“Our investigators are working now to reconstruct the crash scene and to determine if this a case of impairment, distraction, medical issues or other reasons,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said.
Before the bridge reopened, inspectors checked the bridge railing to look for any structural issues. According to Jenson, the bridge arm that blocks traffic during a bridge lift was also damaged in the crash.
“About 20 degrees bent clockwise, so it was a pretty good hit,” he said. “Scary situation.”