Crashes in crosswalk so frequent, neighbor prepared with blankets

PORTLAND, Ore. - It's just a matter of time before someone else is killed in a crosswalk at Southeast 156th and Division, says one neighbor.

Joseph Stone, 25, died after a car hit him Friday morning while he was crossing the street in that crosswalk.

The four-lane crosswalk is marked. But the traffic is heavy, and trees and power poles block drivers from seeing pedestrians and a crosswalk sign on the side of the road.

According to the city, a second sign in the median should also be a warning for drivers. But for Patricia Denuil and others, the screeches from the cars and the screams of people prove that isn't enough.

The accidents are so frequent, Denuil keeps a supply of blankets at the ready.

"I hear every one of them. I hear the crash, and I know exactly what's happened, and I jump and I have a blanket waiting, and I run down with a blanket," she said. "I have an extra blanket, because it's happened so often - I've been here for about seven years, and I think I have probably seen almost every single one."

Joe Biagi was changing tires at his nearby shop when he heard the crash that killed Stone.

"I thought it was a car hitting another car - the noise was so loud," he said.

He checked outside and saw Stone lying in the road.

"I don't know if he was able to hear me, but I was with him and trying to comfort him," Biagi said.

Stone was hit by an SUV driven by a 49-year-old man. Police said drugs and alcohol weren't factors.

Stone's family said the city, at the very least, needs to put in flashing lights at the crosswalk.

According to the city's department of transportation, that's a possibility. Police are meeting with the city to discuss options about what can be done at the crosswalk.

The city has identified Southeast Division as a "high-crash corridor." Click here for more information and a map.

There's no definitive timeline yet, but something might be done by next summer.