10-Year-Old Boy Hit by Truck in Oregon Pedestrian Accident

Date: December 15, 2009
Location: SW Baker Street & SW Keck Drive, McMinnville, Oregon
Names: Austin Delmar Griffiths, Beverly Lynn Smith

In a press release, McMinnville Police are reminding drivers and pedestrians to be especially careful during bad weather, after a 10-year-old pedestrian was hit by a truck December 15, 2009, around 5:35 PM at the intersection of SW Baker Street and SW Keck Drive in McMinnville, Oregon.

The pedestrian, Austin Delmar Griffiths, of McMinnville, was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk when he was struck by a 2003 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Beverly Lynn Smith, 45, also of McMinnville.

Griffiths was seriously injured in the crash. He was taken by ambulance to Willamette Valley Medical Center, and then transferred to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland for further treatment.

Along with police, McMinnville EMS responded to the scene.

The driver, Smith, stopped immediately, and is cooperating fully with the investigation, which was ongoing as of December 16. No citations had been issued.

McMinnville Police Department is asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call them at 503-434-7307.

Our hearts go out to the family now, and we are praying for Austin’s quick recovery. We hope he is at home with his family by the holidays. We realize the road to recovery can be long, and he’ll need support as much as ever as he gets his strength back. He should put recovery first.

His family, unfortunately, must worry about recovery and medical bills. It’s not something we want to think about at a time like this, but it will come up eventually, and it’s best to start preparing now.

When children are injured, the law can get complicated fast. For example, while the standard Oregon injury case must be filed within 2 years of the accident, the statute of limitations for children, on the other hand, is not so straightforward. ORS 12.160 steps you through the process for figuring out the statute of limitations. First, the regular statute of limitations applies. Second, it doesn’t start running until the child turns 18 years old. But, third, the statute cannot be extended more than five years. And fourth, it cannot be extended beyond the child’s 19th birthday.

In addition to the statute of limitations, there’s also the issue of money. Money recovered belongs to the injured child, not to his or her parents. In certain cases, a judge will need to oversee the situation to make sure this happens. Because of the complexity of the law, it is important to contact an experienced Oregon injury attorney.

If a pedestrian is hit in a crosswalk, it is generally considered the driver’s fault, as it should. Everyone must be alert on the road, but when you have 2,000 pounds on your side, it seems only right that you should look for those smaller than you. However, just like everything in the law, there are exceptions. If the pedestrian was drunk and wearing dark clothes, and it was dark, the driver can sometimes escape prosecution. Or if a pedestrian darts out unexpectedly into an intersection, the law may take the driver’s side too.

But in most cases, the law will consider it to be the driver’s fault, and the pedestrian or the pedestrian’s family will be able to get legal compensation. But in this situation, the child was in a marked crosswalk, and the driver should have been aware and ready to slow down. Especially right now, when road conditions are not optimal and it’s dark so much sooner. It’s hard to see pedestrians, and a driver should assume there is one around every corner. All cases are different, of course, so contact a knowledgeable lawyer if you have any questions about your case.

Shulman DuBois, LLC, is located in Portland, Oregon, and serves clients in all Oregon cities and counties, including: Portland, Beaverton, Multnomah County, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin, Troutdale, Sellwood, Corvallis, Salem, Eugene, and Albany.