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Survivor of Division tragedy says car "came directly into the bike lane" (Updates)

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 12th, 2011 at 11:47 am

Kevin Phomma (as seen in Vimeo video)

The two people on bikes involved in a fatal hit-and-run collision early this morning did not know each other. One of the two was 17-year old Portlander Kevin Phomma. Phomma was riding in front of the man who was killed, and, after the collision, he flagged down a passing Portland Police officer.

Phomma is an avid rider who is active on the PDXFixed online community, worked as an intern at 21st Avenue Bicycles, and is the youngest member of Team Trusty Switchblade.

Phomma left a comment on BikePortland about the collision a few minutes ago (emphasis mine):

"Hey Jonathan, so about the second cyclist..really not a serious injury. Actually I sustained very little injury, just a few bumps and bruises. This was far from your general weaving in and out of the bike lane. The SUV essentially came directly into the bike lane, struck the cyclist behind me at full force which catapulted him several feet in front of me.. I was just clipped and just knocked down, I quickly got up, and saw the damage of what had just happened. They did take to me the hospital for a checkover and I was released later that night, now I'm just really sore. This is just too tragic."

Booking photo of
Ashawntae Rosemon

The man who died after being hit has been identified by KOIN-TV as 28-year old Portland Community College student Dustin Finney. The Police have also arrested a suspect who they think was operating the motor vehicle.

18-year-old Ashawntae Rosemon has been charged with Manslaughter in the second degree, DUII, Failing to Perform the Duties of a Driver, Vehicle Assault of a Pedestrian and Reckless Driving. Rosemon was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center and is being held on $272,500 bail.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Officer Eric Koppang at 503-823-2216 or via email Erik.Koppang@portlandoregon.gov.

UPDATE: The man killed was named Dustin Finney.

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Comments
  • wsbob August 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Didn't even know the other person riding. So today, Kevin Phomma benefited from the luck of the draw, or god...as the case may be.

    Even having taken all the precautions: consistent use of hand signaling, proper lane changes, lights, helmets, reflective gear, riding in the bike lane or far to the right as possible, people that ride bikes, in order to survive, still fundamentally have to rely on people to responsibly operate their motor vehicles.

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    • Nick V August 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      And the notion of relying on Portland drivers to responsibly operate their vehicles at 1am on Division is a long shot. I'm NOT saying that Mr. Phomma shouldn't have been cycling on that road at that hour. I'm saying that Portland has become a city where drunk (stupid) drivers, sex offenders, etc. keep thinking that they can slide under the radar.

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      • R. Sewell August 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm

        I don't think any of that is specific or unique to Portland.

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        • Mike August 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm

          Agreed. That sort of thing seems to be happening all over the country, not just here in Portland.

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      • jeff August 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm

        you think that only happens in PDX?

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  • Chris August 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I thought Oregon had some sort of vehicular homicide law that the driver could also be charged with.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Suburban August 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      ORS 163.149

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  • Joe August 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    R.I.P ! we keep losing ppl to Wreck Less drivers..

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • K'Tesh August 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    My Prayers go out to the family and friends of Dustin. I'm encouraged that Kevin's injuries weren't more serious.

    As to the driver... Words are not enough to express my thoughts with the blatant actions.

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  • Cynthia Phomma August 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    My condolences to Dustin Finney's family. If Mr. Finney had not been behind my brother... I just can't think about it, how horrible... I don't know, but I feel as if Mr. Finney could have been my family's angel. Or it was just luck... excuse me for saying.

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    • Jene-Paul August 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Cynthia Phomma's post is the most moving thing I've ever read on BikePortland.

      Peace to both Finney & Phomma families.

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      • sorebore August 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        I support your comment Jean-Paul... truly touching.

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  • jeff August 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    DUII, wow, what a surprise. drunk, 18 years old, and driving. good work, Ashawntae, way to piss away your life and the lives of many others. the world will be better off without you in it for awhile.

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  • Bjorn August 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Once again there is only one reason why someone takes off after they hit someone with their car, and that is that they are intoxicated. The law should be the same as if someone refuses a breathalyzer, if you hit someone and drive off the court should be entitled to assume you were drunk and the penalty should be at least as bad as if you stayed on the scene and blew 0.10.

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    • John Mulvey August 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      Oregon and most states attempt to do what you're describing. The US Constitution prohibits criminal statutes that create "irrebuttable presumptions", meaning you can't make a defendant in a criminal case prove he's not guilty --you're shifting a burden to the defendant on something that the state must prove.
      That's why most states have an "implied consent" law that allows what you might call an "administrative" (versus criminal) process: No jail time or fine, but a license suspension for refusal to take the sobriety test.
      The suspension isn't considered punitive, because a license "is a privilege not a right", as they say.

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    • OnTheRoad August 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      Not to nitpick, but the oregon duii threshold is below that at .08.

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  • Jay August 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Speaking of Hit and Runs; the dude who hit the guy in Clakcamas last week; I checked the Clackamas County's site for a status on Artyom Pavlenko and he's no longer in their system. Does this mean he was released and if so Y????

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    • John Lascurettes August 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Jonathan, is something you're able to confirm in a followup?

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  • Shawn August 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    As the husband of a hit and run victim and dealing with the aftermath, I encourage the bicyclist to seek legal advise. My wife had no broken bones and by all appearances was fine but 15k dollars later in medical would say different. We were able to receive monetary help from our car insurance as the motorist was uninsured. I would also encourage the victim to refrain from public statements about his condition. Insurance may use this as a means to deny reimbursement. It may be too early to know the extent of injuries. Contact Swanson Thomas & Coon. They represented my wife and were a tremendous help.

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  • Ed August 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    If convicted, I predict Mr. Rosemon will do minimum time in a minimum security institution. He will get a free GED if he needs it followed by free college courses. He will return to the street and be "driving" again by the time he is 23.

    Just saying...

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  • Mike August 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    It would be so nice to wake up one morning and find that reckless drivers, drunk drivers and all of the rest actually had to pay for the pain that they cause, instead of the slap on the wrist that it seems they all get away with now.

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  • Hart Noecker August 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Despite the look of smug defiance in that mugshot, the fact that the suspects eyes are pointing in two different directions is a pretty clean indicator of intoxication.

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  • Dude August 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    As much as I would like to see Ashawntae Rosemon spent a long time in prison for this, I would be satisfied if he simply was never allowed to drive an automobile again.

    America seems to think this is an unthinkably cruel punishment, but IMHO it is the only fitting one that also ensures future public safety. Where's the State's interest in letting this moron drive again? So he can hold down a minimum-wage job? I say make him hold down a job without driving. If driving's such a great/important thing in modern life, isn't the terrible inconvenience a justifiable punishment for such a horrible crime?

    Walk around, bike around, take the bus, get rides from friends. But no more driving. Ever.

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    • Thin-ice August 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      The state WILL take away his license. But once he's out of prison, no one can stop him getting into a car and driving and killing someone again. You know how many thousands of people there are on the road RIGHT NOW, with no license, no insurance, no title, etc?

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      • El Biciclero August 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        Come on--almost nobody actually has the title to their car anymore.

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    • kevin August 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      This kid has a lenghty criminal history. They should throw away the key but that's not going to happen.

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  • Mab August 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Can someone please move the Hopworks Bikebar ad? Given the topic of the article, it just seems to be in such poor taste.

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  • Jolly Dodger August 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    To keep him from driving, you'd have to cut off his hands...or is there a handless (otherly abled) vehicle? Maybe just blind him...? Sentence should be as severe as the crime. If not more so, to set an example of what really, really bad actions can lead to.

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    • Hart Noecker August 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      The problem isn't drinking, the problem is cars.

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      • Hart Noecker August 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        Dangit, wrong reply.

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        • Kevin August 13, 2011 at 12:10 am

          Attitudes like yours are why the Bike community and the Motoring community can rarely find middle ground to make each other happier. You do the community you represent a disservice and make the problem worse.

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      • michweek August 13, 2011 at 9:19 am

        I'm with you Hart Noeker, The problem is cars. They kill, the spread sprawl, they pollute our air, they cost a ton of money, because of them we've paved over acres of decent land for them, they allow for a sedentary lifestyle that leads to huge medical bills and tons of that cost us tax payer dollars! Car's are a huge problem and we need a better plan. All they allow is long distance travel which we've used unwisely (x-burban communities) and convenience... but not so much more than public transit.

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        • Hart Noecker August 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

          All important facts that the hybrid car community loves to ignore.

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    • Opus the Poet August 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      The real problem is for many people if you take away their car you might as well take away their legs because that's just as crippling to their lifestyle as losing their legs if not more so. Most people have no inkling of how to live without a car, so they won't. The only way to prevent it is to take away not only the license but the means. If you commit a gun crime they keep the gun even if you're found Not Guilty, 2nd Amendment be d@mned. But there is no Right to Drive, nor a right to own a motor vehicle. Why take guns but not cars?

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  • esther c August 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    If you can't charge someone with drunk driving for leaving the scene then you need to make the penalty for hit and run as severe or worse than for DUI. That would take care of the problem.

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    • Tacoma August 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Indeed.

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  • Minnie Brim August 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    My husband and I are the grandparents of Dustin Finney who was murdered by an impaired driver early this morning in Portland. Dustin's mother was (mis)treated to comments written somewhere or spoken somewhere re motorists vs. cyclists. The comments she heard or read were really cruel and unspeakable, such as cyclists will learn who is the winner between cars and bicycles...and other such cruel statements. I am so angry that she should have had to learn of such comments. Who are these people? I wonder how they would feel if it was one of their kids or grandkids or even a spouse who got killed by someone like themselves. How did we ever get to be a nation with so many heartless, cruel people? My husband said that these people with severely diminished mental capacity should never be allowed to drive a car or ride a bicycle . They should have to walk the rest of their lives. People who make such stupid and irresponsible statements ....well, I wouldn't really wish for them what we are feeling right now...but how dare they be so cruel!

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    • Laurel August 13, 2011 at 9:38 am

      I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  • Motoman August 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    It's a tragedy that can happen to any bicycle rider anytime, any day, on any street and at any hour. Sure, if you ride around midnight perhaps the odds of being struck by a drunk driver increase but a mother with screaming kids in the back seat might drift into the bike lane in the middle of the day and take you down. Or someone answering a cell phone call as you ride on Marine Drive might do the same. If you ride in city traffic you are increasing the odds of a collision with a car. It's a dangerous sport, cars, pot holes, etc. etc. etc. If you want to ride safe buy a three wheeler and ride on the park paths.

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    • michweek August 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

      My bike riding is more than a 'sport'. I can't afford a car on my $8,000 annual income. My bike is how I get to work, the vet, the doctor, the grocery store etc. The roads should be safe for everyone, I should be able to walk and bike where I need to go without worrying about people killing me with their motored vehicle. Freedom is in choices.

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    • sorebore August 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Perhaps it would be a safer world Motoman if we all ate spinach puree with a silver baby spoon.

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  • wsbob August 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Just 20 minutes ago, the O posted another story about the collision:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/08/man_with_juvenile_record_in_cu.html

    "...the suspected driver, 18-year-old Ashawntae Rosemon ...", appears to probably have been a DUI driver, and is apparently involved in other types of bad business as well. Today's collision seems not to have been the first time he's hit someone or something: "... in October to failure to perform duties of a driver. ...". Story mentions Rosemon being associated with gang affiliation...guns.

    18 is an awfully young age to lock someone up forever, but with someone like this, it's hard to not wonder if that may turn out to be the only way to protect other people from people like him.

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  • Todd Boulanger August 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    In reviewing the KOIN 6 video footage...you can see the still flashing bike lights on the handlebars of each bike. Pretty rugged to survive the impact from what is left of the bike frame sets.

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  • Kristi Finney August 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I want to thank you all for your mostly positive and supportive comments regarding the death of my son, and biking in general. Cynthia, I take absolutely no offense to your comments and I can understand your feelings. I know that even though your brother suffered no serious physical injuries, he will probably deal emotionally with what he went through for a long time to come and I am sorry for that. I am grateful to him for being there, for notifying the police, for explaining the facts that my son was in the bike lane and not contributing to this accident. I also want to thank Todd Boulanger for pointing out that you can clearly see the bike lights flashing in the footage and the extent of the damage to the bike. It seemed like I was the only one who noticed. Please everyone, drive safely, ride safely, and be responsible for the safety of yourself and everyone around you.

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    • Tacoma August 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      As Laurel stated above, I'm sorry for your loss.

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      • sorebore August 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm

        All our thoughts and love to you and your family.

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    • Lisa Herter August 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      I just want you to know I will always be here for you and everyone in your family. I didn't know this would hurt me as much as it has. I never had that chance to meet Dustin, but still feel like I do from all the stories I've been told over the past few months. I really wish we could have gotten out there before all of this happened. As I've said before I will always be here for you, Colin, Logan and Jenna, I consider you all family.

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  • esther c August 13, 2011 at 5:34 am

    If bikes and cars are such a dangerous mix, then get the cars off the roads. They're the ones doing all the damage.

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    • Opus the Poet August 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Not just the damage to life and limb but to the very roads themselves. One of the things I hope spreads beyond my blog is the Bicycle Unit of road Damage (BUD). Using the AASHTO formula for relative road damage (single-track vehicles use the GVW, multi-track vehicles use the heaviest loaded axle, and the relative wear is the 4th power of the ratio between the weights) I calculated that the lightest car sold in America did 1100 times the damage of an average bicycle loaded to the breaking point, the heaviest luxury SUV did 8000 times the damage, and a fully-loaded to legal limits semi-truck (80,000 Lbs) does 160,000,000 times the damage of a fully loaded bicycle.

      And you can use that as ammunition against the H8ers complaining about cyclists not "paying our way" for the roads. Remind them that whatever was "fair" for a bicycle would have to be multiplied by 1000 times to even come close to paying the costs for driving a car.

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  • Grimm August 13, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I've known Phoms for a couple years now. So very glad he is still with us. My heart goes out to the Finney family for their loss. I can't imagine any sort of justice that would make it less painful for them, but I hope they can find some peace.

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  • John Mulvey August 13, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Kristi and Minni,

    I didn't know Dustin but I'm still heartbroken over his passing. I hope you'll know that the people posting crass and heartless comments are a tiny minority, and that this community shares your grief and pain over this sad and senseless episode.

    I hope you can remember Dustin for the good things he brought into your lives. The few insensitive people out there can never take that away from you.

    -John Mulvey

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  • Jacob November 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

    A line of paint is not enough. Bikes need physical protection from 3,000 lb vehicles traveling at 30+ mph.

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