Updated: Pedestrian critically injured

By Observer Upload March 15, 2013 10:15 am

by Dick Mason/The Observer

A La Grande man standing in an eastbound lane of traffic on Island Avenue was critically injured Thursday night when he was struck by a motor vehicle. 

Richard Higgdon, 48, was transported by air ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise after being hit by a vehicle driven by Teresa Bundy, 41, of La Grande at about 7:45 p.m., according to police. 

Bundy and a passenger in her vehicle, Nadine Abbott, 60, of La Grande were not injured. 

The accident occurred near the intersection of Island Avenue and Interstate 84. Higgdon was standing in the right hand lane of traffic. 

The eastbound off-ramp to I-84 at exit 261 and all eastbound lanes of traffic on Island Avenue were closed from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. following the accident, police said. 

Police said they are investigating the use of alcohol by Higgdon as a possible contributing factor to the accident. 

“Based upon independent evidence we are looking at the role alcohol may have played,’’ said Lt. Greg Hastings, an OSP public information officer based in Portland.

No citations have been issued and it appears unlikely that any will be.

“At this point of the investigation, there does not appear to be any fault on the part of the driver,” Hastings said.

Tom Strandberg, a public information officer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said the crash site is not one in which there have been a high number of accidents.

“I do not recall a lot of issues with that intersection,” Strandberg said.

He noted there are sidewalks on both sides of Island Avenue near the accident site. Strandberg also pointed out there is a signal-light intersection with a crosswalk just east of the accident site.

The driver and the passenger are both cooperating with an investigation by Oregon State Police troopers from the La Grande Area Command office. 

The OSP is being assisted by the La Grande Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the La Grande Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.