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Five year prison sentence handed down in hit-and-run that killed Dustin Finney

Posted by on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:16 am

Dustin Finney’s mom, sister, and other family members and friends look at Ashawntae Rosemon, just prior to his guilty plea in a Multnomah County courtroom yesterday.

19-year old Ashawntae Rosemon was sentenced to 60 months in prison yesterday for causing the death of Dustin Finney.

Finney was riding his bike westbound on SE Division Street near SE 85th at about 1:00 am on the morning of August 12th when Rosemon struck him from behind. The impact catapulted Finney 175 feet through the air and he died instantly. Roseman, who had a blood alcohol level of about 0.18 at the time of the collision, had just turned left onto Division from 82nd. Investigators believe he overshot the corner and ended up driving his Acura MDX in the bike lane. Rosemon also struck a second rider, Kevin Phomma, who sustained minor injuries.

Despite hitting two people, Rosemon fled the scene. Police later found him near his abandoned vehicle a few blocks away.

In a plea deal that came with the full participation and approval of Finney’s family and Deputy District Attorney Christine Mascal, it was agreed to drop Manslaughter II and reckless driving charges — which reduced Rosemon’s sentence from a mandatory 75 months to 60 months in prison (with possibility of time off for good behavior and other credits) and 36 months of post-prison supervision. Rosemon will also have his Oregon driver’s license permanently revoked.

Deputy DA Christine Mascal glances toward Rosemon during yesterday’s sentencing.

In exchange for the dropped charges, Rosemon (who waived his right to a jury trial) pleaded guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide, Felony Hit and Run, Vehicular Assault on a Bicyclist (for striking Phomma), and DUII.

The courtroom proceeding this afternoon was emotional for everyone. Finney’s family sat on one side of the courtroom and Rosemon’s on the other. Once the bailiffs sat Rosemon in his seat next to his attorney, there were several minutes of awkward silence as everyone waited for Judge Michael McShane to enter the courtroom.

With two large photos of Dustin Finney propped on a table right in front him, Rosemon listened as McShane laid out the nature of his sentencing and asked for his pleas.

After the judge recapped the crimes and made sure Rosemon knew what was at stake by pleading guilty, he then asked the young man if he had any questions. Rosemon asked if the driver’s license revocation would be for life. McShane said there’s a possibility that after all his time and probation had been served, and a 10 year waiting period had elapsed (about 18 years from now), Rosemon could apply to have his license restored.

If Rosemon drives before his probation period is up, Judge McShane made it clear that he’ll go back to prison. When Rosemon and his family members said that it was his first DUII offense, McShane said, “Yeah, right. That’s his first DUI. Nice. It’s a little bit more than that. It’s a homicide.”

Police photo showing the SUV and Finney’s bike.

As per Oregon law, McShane then read a statement about the incident that he addressed directly to Rosemon:

“On August 12th 2011 while under the influence of intoxicants I drove a motor vehicle on a public roadway. During that time I struck Dustin Finney, a bicyclist, with my vehicle, recklessly causing his death; and, knowing he was injured, failed to stay at the scene. Additionally during this incident I struck Kevin Phomma, a bicyclist, causing him injury.

Is that a true statement?”

Rosemon briefly paused and then replied, “Nah, I didn’t know I hurt anybody…” His sentence trailed off and he completely broke down and began to sob.

“Take a couple deep breaths,” Judge McShane advised.

After Rosemon regained his composure, he acknowledged that the statement was true.

Then it was Dustin’s mom’s turn to speak. Rising from the bench, she pulled out a statement and rested her hand on an urn containing her son’s ashes…

Ms. Finney described her late son as a “loving, family-oriented person” who was a dedicated activist, volunteer, and student. He was 28 when he was killed and was the first of her four children, one of whom, his sister Jenna, wept by her side as she spoke.

“He loved to bicycle,” Ms. Finney read, “He thought it was keeping one less car off the road and a great way to stay in shape.”

“I sincerely believe that you can make this experience the best thing that’s ever happened to you if you want it to.”
— Kristi Finney, Dustin’s mom, speaking directly to Ashawntae Rosemon

As Ms. Finney read from one of Dustin’s journal entries about a bike ride he did to Beacon Rock State Park, she noticed Rosemon’s lawyer whispering to his client. She stopped, saying, “I’m not quite positive that the defendant is listening and I would appreciate that.”

“No disrespect,” acknowledged Christian Day, Rosemon’s lawyer, “I apologize.”

Ms. Finney continued…

“When Dustin decided to do something or learn something, or be something; nothing could stop him. Well, nothing stopped him until you struck him from behind and threw him 175 to die and then left him like a piece of garbage like the dirty pavement on Division. You stopped this young man… He was really going somewhere and would have made the world a better place… And you stopped him cold.

Most of us in the courtroom today are here here because you’ve changed our lives. In your drunkenness and self-centered uncaring for others, you’ve stole the life of a very gifted young man and impacted forever the lives forever of those who knew and loved him, and, those who knew and loved you.”

As difficult as Ms. Finney’s words were to say — and for Mr. Rosemon to hear — she also displayed amazing graciousness. She continued,

“If it’s possible for you Ashawntae, I’d like you to look at me when I read this next part.

Sometimes I’ve thought of you more than of my own dead son…

Is killing one person, and such a good person, going to wake you up? Is spending four or five years in prison going to make you into a worse person or a better person? Will you wallow in self-pity and blame other people for what’s happened to you? Or will you take responsibility for yourself and learn that you can overcome what you’ve done and who you’ve been?

I sincerely believe that you can make this experience the best thing that’s ever happened to you if you want it to.

What I know from my own personal experience is that people like to help people who are trying to help themselves, so if you really truly try to help yourself people are going to come out of the woodwork to try and help you to succeed. That’s my encouragement to you.

And of course I don’t hate you. I could have. Sometimes I wish I did. But instead, I want you to make something good of yourself. I want you to be proud of yourself, I want you to be proud of your accomplishments, proud of the role model you’ll become for your younger siblings, proud of how happy you can make your mom if you wanted to.

You’re a very young man with your whole life ahead of you. You can eventually make it a good one. Please do that for Dustin. Do it for Dustin’s family and friends. Do it for your family and friends. But most of all, do it for you.

Thank you.”

Christian Day then introduced his client.

Rosemon had written a statement. It was in front of him; but he pushed it away. Overcome with emotion, he instead spoke straight from his heart. He cried and sobbed so violently most of his words were unintelligible…

“I knew I shouldn’t have been drinking and driving… I just want you to know I didn’t want to hurt anybody… I didn’t know I’d hit anybody until I was arrested… It wasn’t like I just did it and didn’t care… I think about it all the time… I wish I had just never been behind that wheel drunk… I just want you to know that I’m really sorry and I hope you can forgive me some day.”

This won’t be the last time Rosemon communicates with Finney’s family. As per the plea deal, the DA’s office is requiring that he writes a letter to them every six months, “to share with the victims’ family how he feels about what he’s done and steps taken to improve his life.”

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I wasn’t sure how to include this in the actual story, so I’m leaving it as a comment.

    I want people to know that one of the reasons I shared this story the way I did, was to remind everyone of the vast consequences that come from traffic tragedies.

    It’s hard for some people around the various transportation-oriented debates I often find myself in, to fully appreciate where my perspective comes from. Unfortunately this isn’t the first story like this I’ve covered in the past years. I’ve seen too many moms cry over lost sons and daughters. It’s an experience that has a big impact on how I approach my outlook on various traffic safety and transportation policy debates and discussions.

    It’s my firm belief that until you’ve sat through situations like this and felt the tears shed by all sides, that it’s simply impossible to understand why traffic safety issues are so important to some people. So, next time I’m accused of “whining” about conditions or about “taking things too seriously” please keep stories like this in mind. Thanks.

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    • Sam and Minnie Brim December 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Mr. Maus, we are Dustin Finney’s grandparents and were not able to attend the sentencing hearing due to health issues. We thank you so much for your very caring and humane approach on this situation. It seems to be a very honest and fair approach. We agree, people don’t realize the severity of the harm done in such situations until it happens to one of their own loved ones. The road safety laws are, and need to be treated as, a very big and important issue. Thank you so much, again, for your honest and insightful reporting. Please continue what your way of reporting.

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    • Sam and Minnie Brim December 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

      This is Dustin Finney’s grandmother and grandfather again. I feel the need to say that Dustin’s Mom, Kristi Finney, and Dustin’s siblings and other family members are still having a very difficult time with his sudden death. Kristi manages to hold it together well enough when she feels the need to speak about ultra important matters, but later — later, she has a very, very hard time with all this. She cannot face her own loss without thinking of Ashawntae’s mother and how she must feel, for example. She cannot think of Dustin without remembering that Ashawntae is someone’s son. We are aware of these same feelings in ourselves. It tends to override the anger and any sense of vengeful feelings. We hope and pray that Asawntae will take advantage of the good will being offered him by Dustin’s family and that he will see fit to turn his life around, and make something of his life that he, and others, can be proud of. That he will make a good and constructive difference in this world.

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    • s December 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for sharing this just as you did, Jonathan. Ms. Finney’s statement (especially the part directly addressed to Rosemon) brought tears to my eyes…and I’m not someone who ever breaks down in similar contexts. Thank you for publicizing this…you are providing such a valuable service to cyclists (and non-cyclists) everywhere.

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  • Jason Skelton December 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Great reporting and story. The words of Finney’s mom are moving.

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    • sorebore December 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      Yes indeed, as are young Mr. Rosemon’s. I can hardly read it without getting emotional. Very gracious of the victims family to agree to reduced sentencing. I wish the best for everyone in this story.

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  • Rol December 22, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Ironically/fittingly enough, the license revocation will probably result in his mainly riding a bike when he gets out.

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    • mabsf December 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

      I am actually worried that the young man will be back in a car in no time after his term in prison. I think it would need some work with a therapist/psychologist to make him fully understand what he did and how he can prevent getting in situations like this again … and I don’t think that he will receive this in prison.
      So my guess is that he will be back on the road…

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      • Rol December 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

        I think he already realizes plenty, and going to prison will do any remaining convincing that needs doing. Actually the great risk is that the extreme experience of prison will undo what he’s already learned.

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      • Joe December 24, 2011 at 8:14 am

        Time will tell.

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  • dan December 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I think the plea deal and the various conditions attached are fair and show that the DA et. al. are giving proper weight to the crime committed.

    What a difference to the Kirk Hanna case! Granted, his victim didn’t die, but it’s hard for me not to feel that Kirk Hanna, as a rich, white criminal, received an entirely different brand of justice.

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  • SilkySlim December 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

    The amount of times Rosemon abdicated responsibility really pisses me off.

    He drank while underage. He drank too much. He then drove. He couldn’t make turns. He drove off after the collision…

    Accidents happen. But in this case, it took a whole series of terrible decisions to create this mess. Screw him.

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  • 9watts December 22, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Thanks very much for continuing your reporting on this case, Jonathan. I often hope for followups on these horrific crashes. Brett Lewis? Essya Nabbali? Jan Morgan? Eric Davidson? Robert Skof? Reese Wilson? All except for Brett survived being run over by cars (I think). You’ve got plenty of stories to cover, but if you could track any of these folks or, in Brett’s case the status of that case, down I’d be curious to know what happened, whether they or their relatives felt justice was served?

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    • Alan 1.0 December 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Joseph Anderson, too, about the same time as Reese Wilson.

      Very moving article, Jonathon, thank you. And to all of Dustin’s family, your grace and thoughtfulness are exemplary. Thank you for leading by doing, and I hope you find more peace in the world because of your actions.

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    • old55 December 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      And don’t forget the young woman, whose name eludes me, who was struck from behind on Barbur Blvd. last December and thrown like a rag doll to her death. Another DUI, another conviction and the beat goes on. Horrifying.

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  • Esther December 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

    My heart breaks for everyone impacted in this case. I am amazed by the Finney family’s reaction and their ability to try to make the best of a horrible situation. Despite some of the other reported courtroom behaviors, the fact that Mr. Rosemon pushed away his prepared statement and said what he did, I think, is telling that he is suffering and regretful as well.
    Mr. Rosemon will continue to suffer in prison but I hope that Ms. Finney’s hope, that it become an opportunity for himself and others, becomes true, and that healing and peace come easily for the Finneys.

    Thank you for your very thoughtful and meaningful reporting on this, Jonathan.

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  • Nick V December 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

    In 1993, my brother was hit and killed by a drunk driver who showed total remorse. Our family never communicated with him at all until the day he was sentenced (community service, suspended license, etc.). My father approached him and extended his hand. They shook hands, and then openly wept together. I was out of the country at the time and, when I heard about it later, I developed a whole new level of respect for my dad. Life goes on. It has to.

    Hats off to the victim’s mother for her words and her outlook. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Rosemon did not know that he had hit anybody until he was arrested, especially since he fled the scene and abandoned his vehicle. (The guy who hit my brother stayed and tried to give him CPR.) Nonetheless, both parties need to move on and make something good come out of this.

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  • Kristi Finney December 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Jonathan, thank you for doing such an amazing job on this story. I am so grateful.

    Last night on Channel 6 there was a very brief account of the proceeding and this comment: “Read tomorrow’s Oregonian to find out why Dustin Finney’s family asked the judge for leniency for the defendant.” We did not in any way “ask” for leniency! We reviewed our options, the evidence, the fact that Dustin himself wanted prosecution “to the fullest extent of the law” (facebook comment 6 days before he died, regarding the suspect in Michael Vu’s death), and, yes, did consider the future of Ashawntae Rosemon and his eventual return to the public, and we made the best decision we felt we could under the circumstances.

    I realize fully that the person convicted of killing my beautiful son may be totally unredeemable. He may come out of prison more of a danger to society than he has been. But even under the possible maximum sentence had he gone to trial, he would still be getting out at just 24 or so years old. We tried to build in as many opportunities for growth and change and accountability, as many safeguards, as we could.

    Thanks again for the thought and care you’ve taken with the telling of this tragic event.

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    • 9watts December 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

      “We tried to build in as many opportunities for growth and change and accountability, as many safeguards, as we could.”

      Good for you, Kristi Finney! You make the world a better place. Thank you.

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      • q`Tzal December 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        And this is the crux of the matter in sentencing a crime like this: punishment needs to occur however incarceration and isolation within a social group (criminals) that by definition are going to demographically be more likely to sympathize with “harsh” punishment while simultaneously devaluing the worth and life of the victim.
        Profligate incarceration indoctrinates the first time criminal in to a society that values their fellow man less or not at all.

        It’s not that full time incarceration is expensive ($84/day {$30,660 annually} according to Jul 1, 2010 Governor’s Reset Cabinet Final Report page 10) which it is.
        Incarceration is of the same mindset of “out of sight – out of mind” that has allowed us to pump billions of tons of toxins in to our skies because we can’t see them anymore.

        There will always be aberrations (truly sociopathic killers and those that are unable to control violent impulses) that require permanent incarceration or execution; everyone else that would be released back in to society ought to have been punished in place to the extent that it can be safely done.

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  • Spiffy December 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

    No death penalty for a killer = no justice!

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    • q`Tzal December 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      “Death is no penalty; you’re out of the game.”

      Besides, the death penalty is generally reserved for defendants that intentionally caused deaths or less often for deaths caused in the intentional commission criminal activities.

      When there is no intent to kill the death penalty generally falls in to the category of “cruel and unusual punishment”.

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    • Tom M December 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      I understand your outrage but killing him won’t bring back Dustin. Keeping this guy locked up for a full 60 months would be the best thing. No time off for good behavior. We shall see.

      The most telling part is the felony. This guy just ruined his life. He is going to find out getting a job is dramatically tougher because of that felony. Given this job market he’s in for a rude awakening when he gets out.

      I’ve seen my fair share of wrecked wheels, but I’ve never seen one so completely destroyed before. This guy hit Dustin really *hard*. All I can hope for is that Dustin never knew what happened.

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    • Robin Canaday December 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Not a killer, just a young moronic human being of 19 years. Anyone’s careless sibling or child could have been Rosemon.

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      • sorebore December 23, 2011 at 8:40 am

        True. I for one would love to know how many folks posting the malevolent drivel were teenage drunks at one time or another. I would love to hand them the stones. Dustin’s mother and her words are more than enough to show where the grace is in all of this.

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        • Opus the Poet December 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

          I have never driven drunk, but the guy that tried to kill me because I was riding a bike back in 2001 and then fled the scene was most probably drunk, so since I never drove drunk and was the victim of a drunk driver’s murderous rage, can I come down on these idiots? Because when it all gets boiled down that’s what drunk drivers are, idiots. Idiots with Weapons of Mass Destruction, out of control. They have to be stopped, and hopefully before they kill someone..

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  • deborah December 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

    A case where a drunk hit and run received a somewhat fitting sentence. Though it’s probably no wonder since the defendant is young and less affluent. Reminds me of another story where little justice was served – http://bikeportland.org/2010/08/26/owner-of-mt-hood-ski-bowl-pleads-guilty-to-hit-and-run-duii-and-assault-38539.

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  • Kristi Finney December 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for the support, everyone. And thanks also for the names and links to other similar tragedies. Please keep those coming as I intend to make a compilation for research purposes and to somehow use them in the future.

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  • Loren Cowan December 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

    That’s a great article about Dustin. Thanks Jonathon – I’m Dustin’s uncle, another cyclist who has had some close calls riding himself.

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    • Joe December 22, 2011 at 11:54 am

      I think we all have had some close calls, but one thing about cycling commuity is we all ride on for eachother. get chills all over my body since I live bybike..

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      • sorebore December 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

        I like you Joe. you always post nice words. peace.

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  • Joe December 22, 2011 at 11:46 am

    wow just touching this story is.

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  • chri-s December 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    “Rosemon will also have his Oregon driver’s license permanently revoked.” (I guess 18 years).

    Is this common in these situations? I rarely hear of peoples licenses getting permanently revoked for killing cyclists – I think its great and hopefully the start of a new trend in these situations. Society moving towards driving being a privilege not a right.

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    • Dwayne December 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      I think once we reframe driving as a privilege and not a right, the world will be better for pedestrians, cyclists and responsible drivers alike.

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      • Kristen December 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

        Driving has ALWAYS been a privilege, not a right. If it was a right, one would automatically get a driver’s license at 16 instead of having to take written and practical tests for it.

        I think we as a society need to REAFFIRM that driving is not a right.

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      • wsbob December 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

        I wonder if considering driving to be a right rather than a privilege was even something Ashawntae Rosemon’s assumed in the times he drove his car under the influence of alcohol or something else.

        Even as people understand that driving is a privilege rather than a right, many will drive DUI and otherwise irresponsibly as long as the opportunity for them to drive exists. What percent reduction in the rate of DUI driving might be achieved, if there were more frequent withdrawals of driving privileges?

        Related to ideas some people may have about driving being a right rather than a privilege, are certain ideas of rights associated with drinking. Basically any person over the age of 21 has not just the right to drink, but a right to get drunk.

        It’s firmly acknowledged and accepted that as people become drunk, their judgment is impaired, thus making difficult, sometimes subtle self evaluation of their level of intoxication. Result being that certain people recognizing and accepting driving to be a privilege rather than a right, are likely to conclude themselves not to be intoxicated, and ultimately still getting in their cars and driving DUI.

        The challenges of holding people to the reality of driving being a privilege rather than the wishful notion of driving being a right, are major.

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  • pdxmechanic December 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Amazing to see mercy shown to someone who clearly deserves none. Something for us all to reflect on.

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    • Rol December 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      I’m reflecting right now on how judgmental you are and how clear-cut life is for those who have experienced little of it. Those who have experienced real loss, usually realize eventually that it doesn’t actually matter much what happens to the agent of that loss, since it doesn’t undo the loss. My sister was stabbed to death by her husband. Whatever I were to try to inflict on the killer wouldn’t help me in any way, and wouldn’t bring her back.

      This guy’s young, is sorry, no sense in ruining two lives. Kudos to the family for their approach to this.

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      • sorebore December 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

        I am reflecting on your reflection of the other guys reflection and wondering where in the heck you get off knowing how much, or how little, said “reflector” has had in their life experience? PLEEEEEEASE, can we leave the personal barbs aside, and allow some respect to shine through on this one. And BTW,IMO, your sisters murder and this young man’s glaring “F-up” are apples and oranges.

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  • Joseph E December 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    “Rosemon will also have his Oregon driver’s license permanently revoked.”

    This is the key punishment. 5 years, 10 years, whatever. But no drivers license, every? That’s a punishment that actually keep us safe from drunk drivers.

    Thank you for this detailed article.

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    • matt picio December 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t “keep us safe” – there are thousands of unlicensed (as in revoked) people currently driving on Oregon streets. (I can’t find the actual numbers at the moment with a casual search, but I recall it being 5,000-6,000 cases of DWS and DWR per year – Driving While Suspended/Revoked)

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      • Opus the Poet December 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm

        What is needed is a law that makes driving without a license equivalent to illegal possession of a weapon. Same capability to kill (actually a motor vehicle is about 200 times as deadly in untrained hands as a firearm in trained but not expert hands), should bring the same penalty for the unauthorised possession/use.

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      • Machu Picchu December 23, 2011 at 7:56 am

        And, whatever the statistics are, they are only the ones that got caught doing it. Surely they’re not all getting caught, so the number must be much higher.

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  • canuck December 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Does the Oregon license suspension carry over to all states?

    Is there a national database or do states share this information?

    I know having lived in 5 different states that in 4 or those 5 I had my license in hand the day I walked in and applied, making it appear that very little was done to check on my actual driving history.

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  • Oliver December 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    While I can’t argue that harsh sentences for drivers for DUI are not right, I am concerned that should the driver not have been drinking and the results were by chance just as tragic. The punishment would have been far far less severe, when perhaps they should not be.

    And that I think is kind of the problem with the fetishisation of alcohol in general or DUI in particular. That it allows, on the one hand for us to channel our collective outrage onto the ‘bad guy’ who was a drinking driver while ignoring the other problems associated with driving that may be less politically expedient.

    As if by saying DUI = automatically guilty somehow makes up for every other case where a vulnerable road user is killed yet the driver can’t be guilty of anything because it’s just to hard to figure out how to classify it other than as ‘an accident’.

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    • 9watts December 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      Oliver,
      good point. Like with the woman who ran over Reese Wilson on a straight stretch, because she was fiddling with her pooch in the back seat or something.

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  • John Lascurettes December 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    When Rosemon and his family members said that it was his first DUII offense, McShane said, “Yeah, right. That’s his first DUI. Nice. It’s a little bit more than that. It’s a homicide.”

    Bravo! It’s not about the DUII as much as it is about the negligent homicide. See this comment as well.

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  • Kevin Turinsky December 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Excellent reporting Jonathan.

    This was no accident; nothing accidental about it. Choices were made, foolish choices, by Ashawntae Rosemon, which resulted in him mowing down Dustin Finney and leaving him for dead. That’s called consequence, not accident.

    “Rosemon asked if the driver’s license revocation would be for life.” That’s the most important thing on Rosemon’s mind?! That question demonstrates he still doesn’t comprehend who the victim was and who the perpetrator is. He’s worried about getting his driver’s license back someday, when Finney’s life was extinguished for eternity. He still doesn’t get it! A societal menace…

    Peace to the family and friends of Dustin Finney.

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  • Shelli Raymond December 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I’m very moved and proud of Dustin’s Mother and her courage in addressing the defendant with genuine grace, compassion and hope for this young man even after he took the life of her own dear son. She could have allowed hatred to swell and wished damnation on this person who struck the very limb from her, yet, she chose to wish healing for herself, for his family, and a hopeful course change for him. Dustin did not get a second chance to live his life again, yet, the assailant is being give this. He is young enough, with the lenient punishment he will serve, to change the future that he still has, for himself, for his family, and for the safety of others, we hope. It is with the strongest expectation that he will learn from this tragedy, and the strongest desire that he live forever with his regret of the wrongful action that took an innocent life, altered the lives of so many others, and prevents him from repeating the action that lead to this crime. My heart goes out to Dustin and his family. My prayers for healing are for everyone effected by this tragedy.

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  • was carless December 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Jonathan, thank you for sharing this story with us. This… helps to shake loose the detached feeling I have when reading about bike issues, and to drive home the reality of how our lives are affected by what can happen on the road.

    Peace be to everyone.

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  • Seth D. Alford December 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    old55
    And don’t forget the young woman, whose name eludes me, who was struck from behind on Barbur Blvd. last December and thrown like a rag doll to her death. Another DUI, another conviction and the beat goes on. Horrifying.

    Angela Burke

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  • Pete December 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for this moving coverage Jonathan, and my heart goes out to the Finney family. Very impressive words of strength, and I hope your wish for this young man to learn and grow from his mistakes comes true.

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