PORTLAND, Ore. - One of the victims of a violent crash involving a taxi cab said she feels fortunate to have survived without any broken bones but wishes her friend could have been as lucky.
The crash happened Wednesday night at the corner of Southwest 10th and Morrison in downtown Portland.
Police said their investigation so far indicates that just before 8 p.m., a Broadway taxi cab driven by 46-year-old Moktar Mohamud Mohamed ran a red light and was hit by a BMW driven by 26-year-old Joseph B. David. After the impact, the cab then hit two pedestrians before crashing into a store called Rays Ragtime.
The two pedestrians, 41-year-old Dian Rae Bennett and 41-year-old Lori Nuhring, ended up with leg injuries. A third pedestrian was not hit. Bennett was the most seriously hurt.
The taxi cab driver suffered minor injuries and the driver of the BMW and a female passenger were not hurt.
In an interview with KATU News the day after the crash, Mohamed disputed claims that he was chasing a car and had run a red light. He said he had been parked prior to the crash when a woman driving a Honda hit his cab but he did not give chase. "I got the license plate before I started moving," he said. A grand jury will sort it out and decide if any charges will be filed.
Nuhring, who is hospitalized at Oregon Health & Science University, spoke to reporters by phone on Friday. While none of her bones were broken, Nuhring's leg was badly injured. She said she is suffering from compartmentalized syndrome and her leg is severely swollen.
"I had to have surgery," she said. "They had to go in and slice my skin open so the muscle had somewhere to swell to. It was very serious because they said if they didn't release the muscle so it could swell, it would cut off the arteries and veins and the muscle in my leg would start dying. Right now they still can't guarantee that I'll have full use of the muscles in my calf."
Lori Nuhring (middle) is seen in this family photo from her Facebook page (used with permission).
Nuhring is studying to be a medical assistant and was at class that night. She said she and two others from her class had stepped outside to have a cigarette break when it all happened. Here's her account of the events that unfolded:
"We were talking and we were almost done and my friend on my left, Amber - I don't know her last name, I just know her by Amber - just started hollering 'oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.' But she wasn't pointing at anything so I didn't know what she was hollering about. So I looked at her and I followed her line of sight and I looked over just as two cars collided."
"I didn't see who came from where. And then I just remember the yellow - just a taxi coming at me. And I remember there really wasn't time to react. He was going pretty fast. And I just remember thinking, trying to get out of the way. And I shoved Amber on my left. Dian, the other lady who was injured, was on my right. I was trying to get out of the way to my left because it looked like the quickest route. I shoved Amber trying to get out that way but I was too late and the cab was there. So I just kind of turned my body and when I did, he hit me dead in the leg with the bumper."
"And he had to have been going really fast. I know the cab driver has tried to claim there was no speed involved but he hit me in the calf and it was enough force to put me through the window of Rays Ragtime."
"The window shattered around me. I just remember the glass falling all around me and stuff falling off the shelves around me. And extreme pain in my leg. I didn't put my leg down. From the time he hit it, it was extreme."
"I remember turning to Amber going 'oh my God, he hit me - I've been hit in the leg.' And then I heard Dian holler for help. She was on the ground just moaning 'oh God, please help me.' So I knew she was probably worse off than I was but I couldn't see her."
"So I asked Amber to hold me up and I had my hand on the hood of the cab and he started to back up. And I don' t know who screamed it - there was just all of a sudden a ton of people there. Like it started out it was just the three of us and the two cars and all of a sudden there was people from everywhere."
"And I remember someone hollering at him 'dude - don't move it, you've got pedestrians on the ground.' And the cab driver put it in park and I remember seeing he had a big cut on his head. And I could see the other car and that it was pretty smashed up but I didn't know who was in it or if they were injured or anything like that."
"I can just remember just sitting there with intense pain just trying to breathe through it. At one point a medic came out of the crowd, a retired medic, and he told me his name but I don't remember it. Gosh I wish I did. He came out of the crowd and he just walked up and he says 'I'm a retired medic - put your arms around me and I'll hold you up.' And he did. And he started looking around my body because there was blood on my scrubs and he found a superficial laceration on my stomach and he said that's where the blood's coming from. And he checked my hair and everything to make sure I didn't have cuts from the window."
"And he checked my leg and I turned around and looked at him and said 'it's sticking out, isn't it - the bone's sticking out.' He's like 'no.' I said 'do you promise, because I don't want to look.' He said 'I promise - the bone's not sticking out.' "
At the hospital, Nuhring said she and Dian were wheeled into the same emergency room but were separated by a curtain.
"And I kind of started hollering 'Dian, can you hear me?' And the nurse came up to me and said 'is that your friend over there?' And I said 'yeah,' so she pulled the curtain so we could see each other. I remember looking at her and saying 'hang in there kiddo, you know I love you, it's going to be OK.' And she said the same thing to me, so she was talking and alert. She was in critical condition and went to ICU and that's the last thing I know."
When asked if she feels angry about what happened, Nuhring said no.
"I try really hard not to be, simply because I don't have all the facts and because anger is not going to contribute to me getting better," she said.
Nuhring said she is doing her homework while at the hospital and plans to finish her finals. She wants to become a medical assistant and then take more classes to become a registered nurse.