Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 am
A few things have come across my desk recently about Angela Burke that I want to pass along.
First, a commenter named Nick who worked with Angela recently shared the chain of events that led to Angela being on a bike that night:
"... there was something Angela said to me at work that day that's nagging me, and is related...
She said she didn't know how to put her bike on the bus racks. (She usually would drive, but car was in the shop. Was supposed to be done, too, but mechanic said it needed another hour or two.) So coming into work (and going home, as we see), she biked all the way to/from the MAX downtown.
She kind of brushed it off ("probably faster to bike it anyways", etc.), but coming home in those conditions after work...maybe it would have made a difference.
Is that a common problem---the bus bike racks seeming intimidating or difficult to use for people new to it? Is there a way to increase education about that?"
Also, a legal reporter from The Oregonian got a hold of the police bureau's probable cause affidavit filed with the Multnomah County Court. The document includes witness statements and other details about the crash.
"Witnesses who saw the crash... described the motorist who struck her as traveling at "full tilt."... One witness estimated the Subaru's speed at 75 mph, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph."
The Oregonian's reporting also reveals that the man driving the car, Caleb Pruitt, "failed three field sobriety tests and showed signs of both alcohol and marijuana intoxication." The officer who wrote the initial report on the crash described Pruitt as being "greatly impaired." He also reportedly went through a DUII diversion program in 2004.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, the Grand Jury in this case begins today with officer briefings and witnesses are set to take the stand starting tomorrow. The facts above about Pruitt's behavior and state of intoxication prior to the crash will be crucial pieces of information in determining the severity of charges the court will bring against him.
Pruitt was initially charged with DUII and Criminally Negligent Homicide. The latter of those charges is a Class B Felony and — while it sounds very serious — depending on the judge, Pruitt could receive only probation. The test for prosecutors will be whether or not they can prove that Pruitt's crime should rise to a higher level that would come with mandatory jail time. Stay tuned for updates on the case as it works through the court process.
And finally today, reader Rob Anderson shared a TV news story about Angela that aired on the local CBS station in her home town of Albany: