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Witnesses help police find and arrest man for hit and run in Clackamas

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 3rd, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Blake Sharkey Steve; arrested for hit
and run and vehicular assault.
(Photo: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office)

Given our recent discussion of police responses to vehicular assault, I thought this story from Clackamas (about 11 miles SE of downtown Portland) that just came over the wire was interesting.

According to the Oregon State Police, at just before 2:00 today a man named Blake Sharkey Steve, 20, was talking on his cell phone while driving his GMC Suburban when he pulled out of a gas station and struck 20-year old Bonnie Ingersoll as she rode her bicycle on SE 82nd just north of Highway 224. Steve then fled the scene.

Thankfully, several witnesses saw the collision and stuck around to tell Oregon State Police troopers what had happened. One astute bystander got Steve's license plate and vehicle description and police were able to trace it to his residence and make the arrest.

Steve was lodged into the Clackamas County Jail for felony hit-and-run (with injury) and Vehicular assault of a bicyclist (ORS 811.060). (Not sure why he wasn't also charged in violation of 811.507, "Operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device").

Ingersoll received minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene.

This is a good illustration of the importance of getting license plate numbers (and other information) and it also shows that, given solid leads, the police do sometimes take the time to follow up and get the bad guy (especially if someone has been injured).

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Comments
  • Red Five May 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I'm sure he learned his lesson. Prepare for this POS to commit this crime again.

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  • TREK 3900 May 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Glad they caught him.

    Looks like the police work is improving a tad over there on the east side.

    http://www.mentalhealthportland.org/?p=2447

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  • Marcus Griffith May 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Hitting someone is one thing, its quite another to leave the person on the ground without even stopping to check if the person is okay.

    Witness willing to come forward are crucial to hit and run cases.

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  • suburban May 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Having been left similarly in the gutter once, I am pleased to read there was an arrest on this case, and so sorry the fellow road user made those choices.
    Here is a project for all willing BikePortland.org readers:
    This Summer
    If (when) you see automobile drivers using mobile telephones, do a little unscientific profiling of them and keep score;
    Young/Old, Male/Female, Driving 'High on cola'/Being 'extra careful', Hassid, Hick, Hipster, has a "yellow O" sticker....or WHAT EVER YOUR observations and descriptions are.
    You will eventually see some patterns that are not just part of your bias. It's quite amazing!!

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  • wsbob May 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Nice that the girl didn't sustain serious injury!

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  • Bonnie Ingersoll May 3, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you all for your concern. I love this blog and frequent it regularly. I am feeling oddly invincible but also very scared. I am so glad they caught him. Sitting up and seeing someone leave me was one of the scariest things I had ever seen.

    Thanks and stay safe out there...

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  • Lauren May 4, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Does anyone know if there is a report cell-phone usage in cars hotline yet?

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  • Clark Isoe May 4, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Hey. Bonnie I Wish you the best that Must have been Scary. But if you dont Mind me asking Will you Press Charges?

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  • Barney May 4, 2010 at 3:36 am

    @ suburban

    I'm missing the point of your proposed "unscientific profiling". Could you elaborate?

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  • Jack May 4, 2010 at 6:38 am

    @ suburban also

    It would seem you've already noticed such patterns. Care to share your observations?

    In my experience, the key demographic that is still talking on the phone while driving is males and females age 16-65.

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  • PoPo May 4, 2010 at 7:49 am

    It is important that we distinguish different kinds of roadway interactions.

    This interaction resulted in a crash with injury and witnesses and solid suspect information. The circumstances are such that it seems clear that criminal laws were broken. I would guess that officers will take a report and follow-up on this in virtually every similar case. Witnesses did a great job, by the way.

    This is different than a "near miss," with one vehicle operator's word against the other about what happened with no witnesses or evidence available to corroborate, which is how many near misses end up looking. Officers are supposed to give equal weight to opposing accounts in the absence of other information. If person A tells me that X happened involving person B, but then person B tells me that actually Y happened involving person A, there is little an officer can do but stew in an awkward, accusatory pot that has no broth. This happens all the time.

    It's like when little Stevie comes up to say that Bobby just hit him, but nobody saw it and you can't see any red marks, and Bobby says that he didn't. What do you do? Give them both time out? Maybe there is a good answer out there--I'm a fresh parent and haven't had to deal with this particular one among little ones yet.

    That is one reason why it is important for us to somehow be able to communicate respectfully and directly about what happens on our roadways. I'm not sure how to better foster that, but maybe this sort of discussion and self-analysis is part of it. Comment #113 from the other story rang true to me. But that's just me.

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  • fredlf May 4, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I'm with Jack @10, though I'm not sure about that upper limit. I'm sure I've seen someone over 65 yakking. Recalling my own grandmother's driving "skills" at 70+, this frightens me greatly.

    I too would really like to know why this guy isn't being charged with the cell phone violation as well.

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  • fredlf May 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I guess if you drive a Suburban, pulling out of gas stations is something you do very often. May as well have a chat on the phone...

    Glad you're okay, Bonnie. Scary stuff. Hope your bike got through it okay too!

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  • suburban May 4, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I'll just say that after you stare at the picture for long enough, an image you didn't expect finally pops out at you in 3-D. It would make a great statistics lab for high school.
    Bonnie- way to be! I go out of my way to go past the site of my hit-and-run as often as possible, because I am defiant.

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  • Joe May 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

    glad he got caught!

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  • Jackattak May 4, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Wait, the guy's name is really "Blake Sharkey Steve?" Srsly?!

    Bonnie so glad you weren't critically injured. Get back on the road ASAP in order to get over any fears that may remain.

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  • chelsea May 4, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Bonnie,
    Very glad you are more or less okay. I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Also glad they caught the jerk. I hope they make an example of him and other people think twice before doing the same thing.

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  • Joe May 4, 2010 at 8:59 am

    people still use cell phones in Oregon
    not following the law. maybe we need to put signs up. almost was t-bone by a driver!

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  • joe adamski May 4, 2010 at 9:42 am

    When Gordon Patteson was killed in Vancouver under similar circumstances,( young driver texting, hit and run) the driver was sentenced to 60 months. Vancouver and Clackamas are similar in the respect they are car dependent communities, and undoubtedly there is a sense of 'there but for the grace of God, go I' should this go before a jury. I will be very surprised if Clackamas County vigorously prosecutes this since there was no apparent serious injury. I would love to be surprised.

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  • A.K. May 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

    My favorite now is people who simply turn on the speaker phone setting and then hold the phone near their face to talk... meanwhile, still using a hand.

    It's "HANDS-FREE", not "KEEP THE PHONE AWAY FROM YOUR EAR-FREE".

    I had a lady on my street pull out suddenly from a parking spot last week week (causing me to have to stop and wait), and I saw her using that move. I tried my best to give her a dirty look.

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  • matthew vilhauer May 4, 2010 at 10:59 am

    bonnie, glad to hear you are doing better.

    i too have been in your situation. if you have no medical insurance and the driver was uninsured i fear your options are somewhat limited. if convicted for the offense the driver may be orders to pay restitution/medical costs but it's no guarantee he would pay. if he is convicted and the judgement does not cover your medical bills you can go to small claims court and probably win a judgement ($5k or less) but he still may not pay. at least this will give you some leverage, ie. wage garnishment, ability fo file a lien on property, etc..

    if all fails you may be able to work with the hospital to pay a much lower portion of your bill. based on income (they refer to it as hardship) your bill may be reduced to as little as %25 of the original amount owed. unfortunately for some reason ambulance and radiologists are not willing to work with folks to pay a lower portion of their bill (in my experience).

    my personal advice is in no way a substitute for legal council. talk to a lawyer! most will give you very little help or direction unless they are being paid but there are low cost or pro-bono legal services available if you hunt for them.

    all the best, matthew

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  • Augustus May 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Bonnie, May I suggest Thomson, Swanson & Coon as a very knowledgeable and professional option for attorney. They can guide you through this nightmare process. Heal well.

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  • matt picio May 4, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Bonnie,

    1. If you don't already have it, get a copy of the police report. Then make a second copy in case you need to give it to someone.

    2. Take photos of any injuries / bruises you have sustained. Document them now, and document them as they progress. Keep all receipts from the hospital/doctors, etc.

    3. If you have renter's insurance, call your insurance company - they insure your bike, and you when on it. Your agent will help to get his insurance to pay for damages/etc. If you have automotive insurance, they cover medical - talk to an attorney about your insurance options.

    4. Most importantly, talk to an attorney who specializes in this type of law, like Mark Ginsberg or Swanson, Thomas & Coon (Ray Thomas' law firm). They can help you navigate the way ahead much better than anyone on this list, and with documentation and witnesses you have a strong case.

    5. Oh, and if you didn't already get names and numbers of the witnesses on the scene, get them if you still can - through the police report or any other source.

    Best of luck - glad your injuries weren't life-threatening and hope you and your bike are ok. I used to live on the slope of Mt. Talbert and commuted on the 82nd Ave and I-205 bike paths routinely - that can be an intimidating riding environment. Kudos to you for braving it and I hope that this incident doesn't discourage you at all.

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  • Joe May 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

    get well! glad to hear things are coming along.

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  • twilliam May 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    @PoPo

    Re: what to tell little Johnny, et al.

    When you have a couple tots and one of them accuses the other of hitting/whatever, and there's no evidence or witnesses, my experience is now to have the accused apologize to the victim (say sorry and touch fingers), but no additional discipline.

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  • trail user May 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I can usually tell which tot is lying when they can't keep their story straight and have had one too many juice boxes. Baby babble, drool, wetting himself are all signs of a BUI(baby under the influence). A couple hours in detox(doggy carrier) and they're sobered right up.

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  • PoPo May 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Copy that, thank you!

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  • Steve May 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Re: Matt @ 23

    True - In OR one's car insurance is the coverage for medical even though that sounds counterintuitive. True for the renters insurance covering the bike part. I went through all this a year and a half ago when I was hit by an uninsured driver.

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  • Steve B. May 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    @PoPo -- That reasoning is sound. But what about when someone is doored, there are witnesses who stay at the scene, and then the reporting PO doesn't file a report because the injuries didn't lead to an ambulance ride? I hear and experience these stories frequently, I'm afraid.

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  • SE Cyclist May 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    With the adrenalin rushing through your system you are very likely to underestimate your injuries. A friend was rear-ended in his car, thought he was OK, didn't go to the doctor until the next day. Other driver's insurance company played hardball and made his life heck to get reimbursement. Seriously consider that ambulance ride if there is any question. Not legal or medical advice, just saying....

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  • chad May 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Definitely go with the ambulance ride. Got hit last year, broke my wrist and my shoulder. The paramedic at the scene needed to twist my arm (pun slightly intended) to take an ambulance ride because I didn't feel any pain.

    Not only did the ambulance ride get me to the place my unknown injuries needed to go, it helped me prove there was an accident to my insurance company because the PPD "mis-filed" the accident report.

    If you have car and/or renters insurance DO NOT hesitate to get the VIP ride to the hospital even if you think you're just a little shaken up.

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  • cBomb May 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I saw an accident where somebody was eating taco bell. We should ban tacos while driving. I bet bad drivers won't get in accidents as long as we outlaw tacos...and radios cause those are distracting too.

    BTW, I drive 100-200 miles per day for my job and commute 15 by bike. I use my phone ALL DAY LONG while driving without injuring anybody. I would be willing to bet that the driver didn't come to a complete stop before entering the roadway.

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  • Dan May 5, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Since when is "Steve" a last name???

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  • Jack May 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

    @ cBomb

    Stop using your phone while driving. "I haven't caused a problem yet is not justification for irresponsible and inconsiderate behavior.

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  • david....no! the other one May 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Bonnie,

    Get well soon, and heal whatever that takes. Your bike didn't cause it.

    P.S. Don't forget to get a new helmut and ride, we await your return.

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  • suburban May 5, 2010 at 10:27 am

    cBomb- your taco analogy is good, but does not support your illogical conclusion, worse it makes you more dangerous in your confidence.

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  • kevin May 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

    People just can't stop talking and texting. They either don't care or they think it doesn't affect their driving. Maybe when someone in their family dies because of this dangerous practice they will finally see the light. If you see someone talking or texting while driving get their attention and let them know you don't approve.

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  • esther May 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Someone asked what kind of a last name Steve was. The answer is American Gypsy and he's out of here. He's out on bail and will never be heard from again.

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