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Hillsboro man dies near Forest Grove school

Angela Johnston had just finished a cigarette on the stoop of her 18th Avenue home in Forest Grove when she heard a crash and turned to see a man lying in the street beneath the wheels of a sport utility vehicle.

She shouted “Back up!” to the driver, who did so, then dredged up her CPR training from 20 years ago and tried to revive the man.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: DOUG BURKHARDT - A makeshift memorial stands on 18th Avenue in Forest Grove, where J.T. Mercado-Nuno was struck by an SUV and killed April 9 as he was helping to unload a lawnmower from a truck.

There was no blood, no scratches, no pulse and no sign of consciousness, said Johnston, 42. The man seemed to have died instantly.

According to Capt. Mike Herb of the Forest Grove Police Department, J.T. Mercado-Nuno, a 49-year-old Hillsboro resident, was struck by the SUV at about 7:30 a.m. April 9 as he and Scott Bafaro, 27, of Portland, were preparing to start landscaping work on the grounds of Joseph Gale Elementary School.

Their Oregon Green Thumb Landscape Maintenance truck was parked next to the ball field, and the two men were apparently unloading equipment or working on a problem with their mower when Mercado-Nuno stepped slightly out from behind the truck, into the street, and was struck by an SUV driven by Eric Adam MacDonald, 25, of Forest Grove.

Johnston said Scott Bafaro was sitting in the street, dazed, watching her work on Mercado-Nuno.

“Everybody was in like, complete and utter shock,” she said.

A nurse at the Tuality Forest Grove Hospital emergency room, directly across Maple Street from the accident site, heard the crash, called 911 and notified colleagues, said Tuality spokesman Gerry Ewing.

Two doctors, a nurse and a nurse technician rushed across the street to help, Ewing said, and found Johnston trying to aid Mercado-Nuno.

A LifeFlight helicopter was in the air, heading for Forest Grove, when the medical personnel pronounced Mercado-Nuno dead and cancelled the trip.

Because Wednesday is a late-start day for classes, Joseph Gale students were not present at the time of the accident.

Ewing said MacDonald crossed the street to Tuality Forest Grove to give blood samples, which will be tested for the presence of intoxicants.

As of Monday, no citations had been issued, but the accident remained under investigation, Herb said.

Scott Bafaro suffered relatively minor injuries, Herb said, and was driven to a hospital by his father, Brad Bafaro, who works as a special education director for the Forest Grove School District.

Johnston said she’s had trouble getting over the incident.

“I see his face,” she said. “I keep wondering ‘Could I have done something different?’”



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