Last Wednesday, 25 year-old Dustin Kent got on his bike after work and made his way home to Vancouver via the I-205 bridge bike path.
Photo: Carl Larson
He says he had just passed Government Island riding north on the bike path (which is in the middle of the freeway, see photo) when he noticed bright lights shining from behind him.
When he turned around, he was shocked to realize the lights belonged to a full-sized Nissan pickup truck.
According to Dustin, once the truck was about 100 feet away, the lights went out and it started “creeping up” on him. Once it got closer, Dustin claims the driver said, “Wanna’ ride?” and then continued to pull forward, forcing Dustin to hop over the railing (that separates the bike path from the freeway) to avoid being run over.
Watching in confusion from the freeway shoulder, Dustin says the truck drove over his bike and continued north on the bike path.
After gaining his composure, Dustin called 911. The Portland Police responded and filed a report.
Dustin says that because it was dark, he was not able to identify the driver, but he did get the license plate. He says the responding officer (Officer Morales) gave him the name and address of the person registered to the plate and he and a friend have spotted the truck parked in front of a house in Milwaukie.
The story made the KOIN 11 o’ clock news the night it happened. After it aired a viewer came forward and said he witnessed the truck on the path that night.
Dustin had just started bike commuting and was pretty shaken up by what happened. He told me he wants to pursue the case further, but so far the Police have said that they cannot move forward without a positive ID of the driver,
“It’s frustrating. I want to push this further, but I’m not sure how to do it. I want people to know that this happened… and I also want a new bike.”
Dustin also said that he has left several messages with Officer Morales and the Police Bureau over the past few days, but so far no one has returned his calls.
When I heard the story, I was surprised to learn that a full-sized pickup could so easily gain access to this bike path. I’m not sure who has jurisdiction over that bridge, but something needs to change to prevent unauthorized vehicles from doing this ever again.
If anyone has information about this incident, please contact Dustin Kent at dustinkent(at)yahoo(dot)com.
–A commenter points out that back in March ’06, the BTA wrote about their interest in changing the law so that vehicle owners would assume some responsibility for the actions of their vehicle, even if they could not be directly identified as being the operator.
–In the true spirit of Bike to Work Day, reader Tyler Robertson wants to help Dustin get a new bike. He plans to set up a fund at the bank by the end of the day. For now, go to Tyler’s blog and leave a comment with your contact info if you’d like to help out.
–I just got off the phone with PPB Public Information Officer Brian Schmautz. He says the case is in the system and that all hit-and-runs are dealt with based on priority. Since there are more cases than investigators, they look at a number of factors (including injury/damages and amount of evidence) to determine priority. He said when they have a license plate they will typically follow-up. I should have more information soon from Traffic Division.
–A friend of Dustin’s who was there minutes after the incident just left a comment and says this about access to the bridge:
“As far as the “poles” preventing vehicle access to the bridge are non-existent; I rode this route last night and looked. There are two poles up on the Vancouver side but there is still enough room for a truck to go around them. The path access from NE Holman St in Portland is completely wide open.”