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Man “intentionally” hits cyclists on SE Clinton

Posted by on August 17th, 2007 at 5:44 pm

[Updated 8/17, 10:23pm]

Here’s the word from the Oregonian blog (full story):

Portland police say a 46-year-old driver appears to have intentionally used his car to strike two bicyclists who were riding along Southeast Clinton Street this afternoon.

The cyclists, whom police haven’t yet identified (see below), were taken to Oregon Health Sciences University with non life-threatening injuries.


Also on KGW (full story):

“It all started around 12:30 on 1000 block of Southeast Clinton Street. Police said 46-year-old Johnny Eschweiler was driving along when he reported a cyclist kicked his car. Officers said Eschweiler sped up and hit the cyclist, who rolled onto the hood of the car, smashing the windshield.

The car continued on about 75 feet, sideswiping a car and hitting a truck before turning a corner where another cyclist heading towards the car was then hit, investigators said.”

FOX12 has reported the names of the cyclists: 25-year-old Ben Ramsdell and 41-year-old Timothy Mastne.

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Elly BlueAustin Cycle News » Stuff I found on the web » Drunk cyclist attacks bicycle advocate in car after the driver tells him not to do something.livermoreWe arn’t the only ones with problems « Zaftig Girl on a Bikeelgeneralsv Recent comment authors
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S Tabor Rider
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S Tabor Rider

Does anybody know more about what the heck happened? I ride Clinton everyday and I have noticed more and more motorists using Clinton as an alternative to Division or Powell. I feel Clinton is a road where cyclist shoud feel safe. My thoughts are with the two men who were hit.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

\”Assault\”!?

Attempted murder is more like it.

Donna
Guest
Donna

From the address, it appears that the 2 bicyclists were coming either from the direction of or towards the warehousey area one must cross through to get between the Esplanade/Springwater and the Clintion neighborhood. I\’ve found that area to be somewhat full of motorists with short tempers.

jrdpdx
Guest
jrdpdx

We need to follow this case in court, case numbers will be an easy way to follow the court dates etc

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

The attempted assault charge will merely hold him, set a bail amount, and then the DA/grand jury takes it from there. He can be charged with whatever a grand jury finds more likely than not occurred, including attempted murder if the facts support it.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I don\’t understand how it is just \”Attempted 1st Degree Assualt\”. Judging by the front of his blue RAV4 it was pretty \”successful\”. The Oregonian released the names of the assailant and the names of the two victims. KGW 8 showed his license plate number, too.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

When this guy ran down some cops and pedestrians, the charges filed were \”attempted murder of a police officer,\” and \”assault with a deadly weapon\”:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-rampage2aug02,0,2673158.story?coll=la-home-center

I guess it\’s just \”attempted assault\” when the target is on a bike….

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

rixtir @ 7

no thats oregon being soft on crime and not having a vehicle manslaughter law, using a vehicle as a deadly weapon.

i say we just give him a $1000 fine, thats the going rate around here isnt it?

Duane
Guest
Duane

i don\’t live in portland but if there was ever a time for a mass showing of outrage then this is one. call it \”mass justice\” or legalpaluzza or whatever but it\’s great opportunity to expose the conflicts and create peace (hopefully) and change

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Under Oregon law, assault in the first degree is \”assault with a deadly weapon\”:

163.185 Assault in the first degree. (1) A person commits the crime of assault in the first degree if the person:

(a) Intentionally causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon; or

(b) Intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to a child under six years of age.

(2) Assault in the first degree is a Class A felony.

So it\’s a serious offense, and would be an appropriate charge in this case.

The question remains, however: Why \”attempted assault\”? Perhaps the injuries weren\’t sufficiently serious to warrant an assault charge, but an \”attempted 1st degree assault\” charge is warranted, and a serious charge nonetheless.

Kevin Putnam
Guest
Kevin Putnam

Why is it relevent that the riders were not wearing helmets, as reported in the KGW article?

madhickey
Guest
madhickey

grrrr….it still pisses me off when stories like this include teh words \”tneither cyclist was wearing a helmet\”. How is this bit of information relevant to the fact that some wacko tried to kill them?

Ian Clemons
Guest
Ian Clemons

This part of the Clinton/Division/11th/12th St nexus is a traffic disaster. I don\’t know enough about the situation to assign blame, etc., but we all need to be really careful going through there.

What disturbs me is that Clinton is a \”Designated Bike Street\” that has a LOT of fast moving, short tempered drivers on it. I don\’t think we can have it both ways.

-Ian

D Rock
Guest
D Rock

#12 Its the same thing for driving accidents as well. If some drunk, wacko, road rager hits a car the story will always say, Driver X was wearing their seatbelt but their passenger was not and was thrown from the vehicle or something along those lines. Its not a bicycle conspiracy.

matchu
Guest
matchu

Where does Johnny Eschweiler live?

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

I had a somewhat similar experience riding up Clinton at around 28th a few months back. A car driving waaaay too fast got pissed that he had to drive *around* myself and my friend on bikes. He started honking his horn, revving his engine super-agressively. It was awful, and we are experienced cyclists. Lord only knows how a small child would have reacted to this kind of behavior.

I\’m sick and tired of cars using Clinton Street as a cut-through. Speed humps do little to slow down two ton, super-suspension SUVs these days, They don\’t slow down one bit going over them.

I\’m sick and tired of all our bike boulevards becoming victims of their own success. You take out all the stop signs, and cars use them as cut-throughs. It\’s sickening, and frustrating.

One word.

Diversion.

Diversion.

Diversion.

Diversion.

Are you listeining, Sam Adams?

Diversion at SE 26th & Clinton would prevent 90% of cut-through traffic that is too lazy to take Division or Powell.

One more time, bring back DIVERSION as a traffic calming tool.

Our bike boulevards are failing without it.

td
Guest
td

Apparently Oregon City. Google \”John Eschweiler, Oregon\” if you want his specific address so you can send him a note about how you\’re feeling. Even gives Johnny\’s phone number in case you feel like talking it through with him. You\’ll have to wait til he\’s outta jail though.

Jen
Guest
Jen

@ 11 & 12 (Kevin & madhickey)

Thank you for voicing exactly what I was thinking. While it is my personal preference to shield my melon in a helmet, I find it to be completely and utterly irrelevant to note the presence or absence of one on a person who\’s been struck with a car. It feels to me as though there is some subtle implication that they were somehow reckless or asking for it by not wearing a helmet. When, given that these two bicyclists were both forced into the windshield of a car (by no fault of their own), I\’m sure that head injuries are only some of a myriad of what they\’ve suffered.

Peter W
Guest

Does anyone else find it strange that they call a RAV4 a \’car\’? Its a freakin SUV.

The city of Portland needs to recognize the fact that SUV drivers are jerks and their choice of vehicle is more dangerous to both themselves and others [1]. In addition, people don\’t need to be commuting in an SUV.

SUVs SHOULD BE BANNED IN PORTLAND.

read \”High and Mighty: SUVs — The Worlds Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way\” or this review:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0212.mencimer.html

Todd B
Guest
Todd B

And why does KGW add the last bit of information…\”Neither cyclist was wearing a helmet.\”

It does not have any legal status in describing this incident within Oregon.

John Wilmot
Guest

It\’s funny that people are up in arms about the fact that it was reported that neither cyclist was wearing a helmet. Obviously, the sentiment here is that reporting that they were not wearing helmets is akin to subtly blaming the victim for what happened. Maybe that IS what is happening here, but I also think that it\’s perfectly valid to point out that the cyclists were themselves not taking full responsibility for their own safety. Not wearing a helmet certainly doesn\’t cause people to run you down, but, like it or not it, wearing one does give you the moral high ground beyond question when that sort of thing happens. Being unsafe and irresponsible does not. You\’d still be a victim, but you\’d be seen as a stupid victim who doesn\’t deserve quite as much sympathy. Isn\’t the reporting of (accurate) information that diminishes the level of victim status for the cyclists why you\’re really upset about with the news?

Crash N. Burns
Guest
Crash N. Burns

Provocateur.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

Not wearing a helmet certainly doesn\’t cause people to run you down, but, like it or not it, wearing one does give you the moral high ground beyond question when that sort of thing happens.

(note that I\’m saying this as a never-bike-without-a-helmet safety nut)

If you want to pick nits about safety precautions, sure. In which case you\’d best also be listing how, say, what sort of service/repair the automobile\’s steering and transmission systems were in, or how neither cyclist was wearing a pair of Depends in case their bowels suddenly cleared themselves in the midst of an intentionally aggressive collision.

Otherwise, what moral high-ground *is* there? Some asshat apparently intentionally ran down two cyclists. This isn\’t about \”shouldas\”, this is about stupid murderous bullshit.

rainperimeter
Guest
rainperimeter

#19 i couldn\’t disagree more with you. and i\’m a helmet wearer. are ben ramsdell and timothy mastne \”stupid victims\”? wtf?

#1 Lincoln in my opinion sees way too much traffic also (avoiding hawthorne and division)

John Boyd
Guest
John Boyd

Standard for news is relevancy, not just accuracy. If head injuries were part of the story, helmet wearing would be relevant. Reporter might as well as added that one of the car\’s tires was underinflated, or the cyclist is a recent immigrant.
Safety gear is in no way relevant to attempted murder, and the reporter\’s accurate but irrelevant details are chosen soley to reinforce opinion that might makes right on lane priority.

bArbaroo
Guest
bArbaroo

anybody know how the two cyclists are doing?

Deb
Guest
Deb

Yesterday @ about 2:30 between 38th and 39th on Clinton a sedan with 4 young adults speeding pass me in the oncoming lane and make a right turn on to 39th. The driver didn\’t even slow down for the red light before turning. Usually I find most drivers on Clinton are very aware of the bikes sharing the road. This driver though was very aggressive in his driving and gunned the engine several times before passing.

Jerrod
Guest
Jerrod

Shall we unite and protest another retarded bit of \”justice\” on cyclists? Nothing will be done unless we show interest and concern. Remember when Mayor Potter changed his mind on the Bike Master Plan?

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

Oh Jesus, it\’s turned into a helmet debate.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Who saw the smashed in front of the SUV and the windshield? Maybe if he was wearing 20 helmets all over his body he would not have been hurt.

I understand the importance of wearing a helmet but I choose not to impose my will upon others. Please helmet zealots, refrain from prosteletizing, just once. A helmet would not have stopped the aggressive SUV driver from mowing down a cyclist.

The reason the media points out the the victim was not wearing a helmet is to make it look like cyclists are reckless.

Duncan
Guest
Duncan

Hmmm banning SUVs? I dont think that will help, last guy who tried to run me down was driving a honda civic..

I think that a better option might be to start brining the requirements of obtaining (and the ease of losing) a DL in line with European standards- where it takes a year and thousands of $ to get a liscence, which can be taken away for first moving violations. Doing so would mean that the people with issues would lose their liscences BEFORE someone got hurt. and that the people who got a DL were able to handle the car they drove, and were aware of their responsibilities.

(And yes I drive what could loosely be called an SUV… 89 Toyota 4 runner its basicly a truck with seats. As a person who goes to the end of the road alot, I need it. My beef with SUVs is that they have turned into rolling sofas unfit for dirt road driving- basicly macho minivans.)

One of my favorite Portland SUV stories comes from my time on Hawthorne. my neighbor Jeff owned a landcruiser that he took camping a few times a year. Jeff was an urban planner, biked to work, was active in the community- some one keyed \”ELF\” into his car…

The funny part is that I had to tell him because he hadnt noticed after two weeks. So dont go pointing out one kind of car as the problem- especialy in this instance as a RAV4 is smaller than many sedans that are made by american car companies (seen a chysler le baron lately?) its the attitude of the driver that makes a car dangerous.

Cynic #539
Guest
Cynic #539

Oh Portland!

\”The Bike Friendly\” City of America??

This claim wasn\’t made by the everyday biker of Portland!

Jasper
Guest
Jasper

Ben Ramsdell is a friend, I just spoke with him in the OHSU hospital where he spent last night. His nose was split & broken, his bicycle destroyed, he may spend tonight at OHSU too. I called him, to offer support, he sounded groggy & okay & just wanted to rest & recover.

I\’m also sorry this is devolving into the super-tired helmut wars (here\’s another discussion about it, if you really wanna go there: http://tinyurl.com/2jpomq). gawd.

i don\’t know what happened, but I sure wish for peace & health to everybody involved.

Tbird
Guest

This is sad on so many levels. I think the only real long term resolution, short of SEPARATED BIKE LANES is severely limiting auto traffic on \’bike blvds\’. I don\’t exactly know how; but riding this exact route daily along with Ladd\’s Ave ( both of which are virtual raceways at some times), makes me think that we need our own space free of cars.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

\”The reason the media points out the the victim was not wearing a helmet is to make it look like cyclists are reckless.\”

Do you people really believe that the media reported that they were not wearing helmets simply to masterfully undermine cycling?

The police reports this as a rule. The media reports what the police tell them, when it comes to seat belts and helmets, in or on cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.
It is a matter of public awareness, and if you search here on this same site, I think you will find a police explanation of such.

If they media and police really wanted to undermine cyclists in this manner, all the would need to do is use this fact as a headline, in nice bold print.

\”Police said 46-year-old Johnny Eschweiler was driving along when he reported a cyclist kicked his car.\”

While it in no way justifies what the driver did, it appears they assaulted his car, right before he ran them over.

And before I hear the bitching about me bringing this up, realize a fact is a fact.

If the car had not been kicked by the cyclist, the driver \”most probably\” would never has used his car as a weapon.

Chew on that for a while.

(This thought comes from someone (me) who has a habit of slapping car fenders when they cut him off, and has caused this same reaction many times. I have always been lucky to get away unscathed.)

SUV?
Guest
SUV?

I guess in the technical sense a RAV4 is an SUV and should be BANNED FROM ALL ROADS!!!!!!!!!! I suppose a guy in a Camry (which is longer than the Rav4, weights pretty much the same and gets very similar gas mileage) would have been polite and courteous to the cyclists. Give me a break.

JE
Guest
JE

Set him on a bike (without a helmet) and hit him with a RAV4.

Then leave him there.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

From #33: \”[I]t appears the [cyclists] assaulted his car, right before he ran them over. And before I hear the bitching about me bringing this up, realize a fact is a fact.\”

You\’re wrong; one cannot assault an inanimate object. This is not just a matter of semantics. The law and public policy draws a stark and important distinction between destruction of property and injury to humans. Don\’t mix up the terms, because there is no equivalence, morally or legally.

But more importantly, the cyclist most likely never would have allegedly kicked the vehicle if the driver had not committed some act of assault or harassment prior. We don\’t know what that act is yet, but that\’s a safe assumption; people don\’t kick cars for no reason. And that of course doesn\’t justify kicking a car.

But once again we see the victim being blamed, even by supposed cyclists. Very sad.

wsbob
Guest

I think John Wilmot (#21) nails down exactly why the news (KGW)would note that the assaulted cyclists weren\’t wearing bike helmets. Arguments about the level of protection they provide, aside, wearing one seems like one of the surer ways to clearly establish that any cyclist wearing one is concerned about their own welfare.

That said, other people have made good points in past about different ride settings where it would seem reasonably safe enough to ride without one. I\’m not so familiar with the 1000 block of Clinton, but surely in the neighborhood further up around the theater, I\’d probably feel basically just fine about not wearing a helmet, even though there\’s always going to be people saying you should always wear one, just like they say you should always wear a seatbelt when you drive or ride in a car.

KGW mentions that the driver claims that one of the cyclists kicked his car. As a pedestrian and a cyclist, there\’s been times when I really felt like doing that, but I didn\’t, because I know that, just as this Johnny Eschweiler has amply demonstrated, some of the people in those cars doing the crazy shit are borderline psychotic. Better to get their plate number, description, etc. file a report and so forth, and work to get these imcompetent drivers off the road.

lyle
Guest
lyle

it\’s too bad this guy didn\’t have his SUV painted as a bike. because if that was the case, PPD would have a speed trap on every corner of clinton today.

oh well, maybe next time.

dalas v
Guest

I think you\’re being overly sensitive to the helmet thing. If this was a car on car accident and the people were not wearing seatbelts, they would have said that. It\’s just one of the circumstances of any accident that people want to hear reported.

@Dabby, the two cyclists were not riding together. The second one happened to round the corner and get smashed by the car, so he was a totally innocent victim.

organic brian
Guest
organic brian

\”Why is it relevent that the riders were not wearing helmets, as reported in the KGW article?\”

Because, with stories like this, every time the media doesn\’t report about the use or lack of helmets, fifty people call or email the office asking \”were they wearing helmets?\”

If you put yourself in the reporter\’s position, it should be easy to see why they would try to head off this barrage by preemptively including the info.

lyle
Guest
lyle

\”Because, with stories like this, every time the media doesn\’t report about the use or lack of helmets, fifty people call or email the office asking \”were they wearing helmets?\”\”

those are the same people who call into news departments every time there\’s a story about a car getting shot up asking if the shooting victim was wearing his seat belt.

why? because it REALLY matters.

freddy
Guest
freddy

Helmet wars are verrrrrryyyy boooooringgggg.

sb
Guest
sb

Googling the drivers name did give up his address and why does it not surprise me he lives in Oregon City? Talk about a town that despises cyclists. Flame on…

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

#13
Agreed that this \”nexus\” is horrible for cyclists. There\’s no easy way through it and often the only options are unsafe and probably illegal. The city needs to do something to create a safer connection between the Esplanade and inner SE.

Lazlo
Guest
Lazlo

#46
Not cool to post his address. You may open up his family to undeserved harassment. What he did is horrible, but you need to let the legal system, feeble as it my be, deal with it at this point. Vigilanteism is never right, no matter the cause.

jordan
Guest
jordan

i\’ve lived and biked in Portland all my life and 80% of the agro drivers I\’ve dealt with were on Clinton. I don\’t know why.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Anonymous,

First of all, don\’t hide, use your name.

Second of all, if you are going to try to show that I am wrong, try quoting me correctly first, instead of piecing together a few different ones.

I never was speaking in legal terms.

I will point out, since you used the terminology, that when they kicked the car, it was definitely \”morally wrong\”, and doubly \”morally wrong\” when it backfired on them, causing horrific injuries. I believe this is how we learn from morals.
I also wouldn\’t be surprised if the police charge him with destruction of property, or something related, for the kicking incident.

I will tell you that if someone kicked my Audi, I would stop the car, get out, and hold them responsible for any damage, if possible. Even just to get the proper info, so my insurance will cover it easier. (an example of the right thing to do)

I once saw a guy randomly spit on my bike, just some punk at the square. I had the perfect angle, so I body checked him.
(an example of an effective wake up call, but the wrong thing to do).

I especially at this point feel very badly for the second, separate cyclist (I did catch that earlier by the way Dalas, it seemed apparent in description, even though it wasn\’t mentioned).

While the first cyclist is the victim of an altercation gone bad, the second just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I wish I could send him flowers.

Biking for Peace
Guest
Biking for Peace

At minimum, Eschweiler should be charged with aggravated assault. This wasn’t an accident… this guy hunted down bikers with the intent to do major harm. It should be totally irrelevant how injured the bikers are.

Regarding the helmet thing…the media will always be looking for some twist or innuendo depending on the stance of the writer. Credibility is always relevant no matter what the issue.

I find it totally lame that bikers choose not to wear helmets – in general. There are no GOOD arguments for lack of safety when biking and I agree with some other comments, that whether we like it or not, credibility is called into question always. And when we don’t take proper steps to be safe it will be brought up by the media – and maybe it should be, if anything, to make bikers aware of how they are perceived by the people they/we are trying to get to support the movement.

I think the ONLY way to get protection and adequate laws is if all bikers join together and act consistently – leaving ego’s at home. As far as I am concerned there isn’t much unity in the bike community currently and no one outside the community is going to take us seriously until there is.

I am glad these guys are not critically injured – and I plan to contact the prosecutors and defense and push for a more serious charge.