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KGW: Eschweiler freed on reduced bail

Posted by on September 7th, 2007 at 8:06 am

On their 11 o’clock newscast last night, KGW (who has been covering this case since the beginning) reported that the family of accused road rager Johnny Eschweiler has freed him on a reduced bail.

KGW reporter Scott Burton said that Eschweiler’s attorney, “argued the (bail) amount (originally set at $500,000) was not only excessive but unconstitutional…and the Judge agreed.”

KGW says the Judge allowed Escweiler’s family to free him on $50,000, just 10% of the original bail amount.

The KGW video shows victim Ben Ramsdell taking the stand (still in a neck brace) and saying, “whether or intentional or accidental I think he deserves to remain exactly where he is.”

A friend of Eschweiler described him as shy and testified that, “I’ve driven with him a number of times, and he’s also avoided accidents a number of times…a little shy, very mild.”

According to the the KGW report, Eschweiler will not be allowed to drive and must wear a GPS-enabled ankle bracelet 24 hours a day until the case is resolved.

Watch the full story on KGW.com (registration might be required).

Read my special coverage of this story.

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  • Todd B September 7, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Too bad on the reduced bail…seems very low given the 2 bicyclists injured…perhaps the judge should have included having to ride a bike until his court date, as a way of educating this dangerous driver about the power of automobile as a weapon (and as a way of mobility now that he cannot legally operate a car.)

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  • Peter September 7, 2007 at 8:29 am

    I\’m not sure how long it is until his court date, but if it is any time soon, I don\’t understand why anyone would fork over $50,000 for basically a few weeks of vacation. Does he plan to leave the country or something?

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  • Bradly Fletchall September 7, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Hopefully he\’ll get what he really deserves from the actual trial or hearing.

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  • true September 7, 2007 at 8:54 am

    It may seem like a drastic reduction, but it\’s constitutionally correct, yes? \’no excessive bail…\’ or something like that.

    I think the GPS anklet is much more cost effective than a jail cell, and it\’s more humane. I still believe in rehabilitation, education, penalties of service (I know,service shouldn\’t be considered a penalty) – over the degrading embarrassment of a prison system we have. He can\’t drive, he\’s not taking up an expensive cell, and he still has trial coming.

    I agree with the judge – but that\’s easy to say when I wasn\’t the one who got assaulted…

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  • true September 7, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Peter – if I understand correctly, the family or individual doesn\’t actually pay the money unless the defendant doesn\’t show to trial. So a bail bondsman puts up the money on behalf of the family for a fee, and when the defendant shows up, the bail bondsman gets the money back, plus the fee. The bondsman loses the money when the defendant doesn\’t show, and then it goes into collection against whoever signed off on the original agreement. Is that right lawyers?

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  • toddistic September 7, 2007 at 9:01 am

    I think what the Judge did was reasonable considering the circumstances. Having him rotting in jail isn\’t doing our tax dollars any, as long as he doesn\’t drive he\’s confined to living like people \”not in cars\”.

    Or better yet, they catch him driving again and he recieves a stiffer penalty.

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  • toddistic September 7, 2007 at 9:02 am

    If he jumps bail lets ask Dawg the bounty hunter to come catch him. I love Dawg

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  • DK September 7, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Still trying to figure out what actually happened. On the news, Eschweiler looks a bit confused about the whole thing…is he alittle goofy or was he just one of those shy and mild cubicle dwellers that finally got tired of being pushed around by people all his life? Wonder if there\’s any more info. or test results of all involved.

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  • Dan September 7, 2007 at 9:37 am


    You would be correct in most states, but Oregon doesn\’t have bail bondsmen. Instead, the defendant will be required to personally post 10% of the bail amount (so $5000 in this case.) If he doesn\’t show up, he forfeits the $5,000 and is on the hook for the remaining $45,000, although that would usually be hard for the state to collect.

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  • tonyt September 7, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Peter and True,

    You go to a bail bondsman when you don\’t have the money. It\’s essentially a loan, hence the fees.

    If his family put it up, there\’s no bondsman involved. But chances are they don\’t have that sort of liquidity and they did have to go to the bondsman.

    The money is put up up front in order to get the person released, if he/she flees before or during the trial, then the bond is forfeited.

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  • jeremy September 7, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    hopefully this idiot is learning that his \”frustration with cyclists\” is not worth jail time…I do hope the court makes an example out of him however…and the media makes those results WIDELY publicized.

    I still can\’t imagine what it takes to maliciously run over another human being..

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  • true September 7, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks Dan – I\’m from Georgia where there\’s a strip of bail bondsmen outside every detention center. Thanks for the info regarding Oregon. It seems to add to the reasonable reasons for the judge to have reduced bail in this circumstance – it seems the individual/family couldn\’t possibly post even a small percentage of $500,000. I couldn\’t either.

    Here\’s to justice? Let\’s hope.

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  • JohnR September 8, 2007 at 7:45 am


    There are no bondsmen in Oregon. It is illegal in Oregon.

    Dan has the process correct. If you cannot come up with the money you stay in Jail.

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