Emergency crews respond to vehicle versus bicyclist crash; distracted driving suspected

UPDATED 9/4/18: Emergency crews responded to a vehicle versus bicycle crash that sent one person to the hospital with critical injuries Thursday morning, Aug. 30 near the intersection of Highway 30 and McBride Street.

Columbia River Fire and Rescue crews and St. Helens police were dispatched to the scene around 5:40 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.

Preliminary investigative information indicates the driver of a red Mitsubishi Mirage was in the right lane of the highway, driving eastbound, when the driver drifted into the bike lane, striking a bicyclist. The cyclist was later identified as Francis Joseph Alvarado, 67.

St. Helens Police Chief Brian Greenway said the cyclist was thrown from the bike after the impact and was transported by ground ambulance to a Portland-area hospital after suffering critical injuries. The driver of the car was uninjured and cooperating with the investigation. No charges have been filed against the driver, who was not identified.

On Monday afternoon, SHPD Sgt. Jose Castilleja said he had spoken with the family who reported Alvarado was still in the hospital, but in stable condition. The extent of his injuries was not reported.

Greenway noted that the crash was completely preventable and took the opportunity to remind drivers to focus on the task at hand when operating a vehicle.

"The preliminary indication is it was distracted driving, and we would like to get a message out there to pay attention. This was a completely preventable accident," Greenway said. "Put the phone down, put the food down, and just drive."

As a safety reminder, Castilleja also mentioned that cyclists should always wear helmets and bright contrasting colors.

Highway 30 was temporarily closed Thursday morning following the crash. SHPD officers responded along with emergency personnel from Columbia River Fire and Rescue. Oregon State Police troopers assisted with crash reconstruction at the site of the crash.

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