Updated: Police; Truck driver will not be cited

Posted by on October 11th, 2007 at 4:00 pm

[Updated 5:12 pm, 11:21 pm – updated sections are italicized.]

Lt. Mark Kruger of the Portland Police Bureau says his team has finished their preliminary investigation of the fatal bicycle collision that happened earlier today at W. Burnside St. and SW 14th Ave.

Kruger says they are not issuing any citations at this time and that the driver’s blood and urine tests showed no signs of intoxication.

Now, the Police report will be submitted to the District Attorney and the DA will consider whether or not the truck driver has any criminal liability.

Here’s more on the citation issue from BikePortland contributor and frequent commenter, Police Officer Robert Pickett:

“Citations can be issued long after the fact. In the most serious cases, the police will be as methodical and careful as possible in the investigation, so that, among other things, any potential prosecution won’t be tarnished. This might mean that a citation isn’t issued until a later time. (And of course it could mean that a citation isn’t eventually issued.)”

Once the DA has looked it over, the report will go back to the lead investigator at the Police Bureau, Peter Kurronen. Kurronen then has sole discretion as to whether or not the truck driver should receive a citation.

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BURR
Guest
BURR

not even a $242 failure to yield ticket?

unfreakingbelievable!!!!

pushkin
Guest
pushkin

This may be the straw that breaks the camel\’s back.

BURR
Guest
BURR

it\’s time to purge all the anti-bike cops from the traffic division

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Failure to yield???? Hello?

De facto failure to yield?

At a loss for words.

Obviously the rules do not apply when WE are the victims, so I\’m trying to remember why it is that we are supposed to obey them.

Oh right, they\’ll write me a ticket.

Zach
Guest
Zach

Rinker Materials
6400 S.E. 101st Avenue
Portland, OR 97266
503-777-1660

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Perhaps PPB hasn\’t yet heard of the vulnerable users statute?

Let\’s make sure the D.A. has heard of it…

Zach
Guest
Zach
BURR
Guest
BURR

if enough cyclists show up we could shut west burnside down this evening

Zach
Guest
Zach

I\’m there.

Dave J.
Guest
Dave J.

What a joke. A total, utter, yet not-at-all-surprising, joke.

pushkin
Guest
pushkin

So if I\’m driving my car in the left lane of a one way street and I turn right into the path of the car on the inside lane and kill the driver then I don\’t get a ticket?

Thanks for the quick traffic lesson PPB.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I think it would be far more insulting to have the driver prosecuted on a $242 failure to yield ticket than it would be to issue no ticket at all.

dotrob
Guest
dotrob

I\’m not defending anyone either way, but for those of you outraged that no citation was issued, a similar situation happened Wednesday where a driver hit and killed a motorcyclist who had the right of way:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/10/collision_kills_18yearold_aloh.html

http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/10/police_identify_motorcyclist_k.html

It\’s much the same situation, in that a car struck and killed someone on two wheels who had the right of way, claiming he was hard to see.

Keep your eyes open out there.

Not putting up with this!!
Guest
Not putting up with this!!

\”if enough cyclists show up we could shut west burnside down this evening\” – BURR#8

Well, being as failure to yeild is obviously not illegal at the corner of 14th and West Burnside, the police shouldn\’t have a problem with this.

What time? Should this possibly be organized with a day or two of notice to increase turnout?

Dave J.
Guest
Dave J.

If they don\’t charge the driver, the only thing they could possibly say is that he had started his turn well before she arrived at the intersection, and that she ran into the truck. That seems to fly in the face of what eyewitnesses were reporting (in the previous thread), namely, that the cyclist and truck were waiting alongside each other for the light, and that they went at the same time, and she was hit. They also said that there were no tire marks from the bike, so we\’re supposed to believe that she was proceeding N. on 14th toward Burnside (which is downhill) and just without looking rode right into the side of the truck? Sorry, not buying that.

destin
Guest

give a date and i time, i will be there.

this is an outrage.

pushkin
Guest
pushkin

Comment 14 –

Friday would be a great day for this. And the impact would be greater if the cyclists were to assemble in silence. No shouting, no talking, no sloganeering, just silence.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Can a Citizen Initiated Violation Prosecution be made by a third party, or does it have to be done by the person in the accident?

ORS 153.058 – I\’ve looked through the statute briefly, but don\’t see anything definitive either way.

a.O
Guest
a.O

I\’ll be there. In fact, I\’m going to ride through there on my way home today.

b dot
Guest
b dot

friday sounds good but good luck on getting a silent crowd

a.O
Guest
a.O

encephalopath, this is the kind of thing that won\’t be addressed in the statute, but my guess is that a judge will find that a third party does not have standing to bring such a suit. But I suspect this has never been tried, so you never know. Ask Mark Ginsberg. If anybody knows, he does.

motown
Guest
motown

i would show up and block burnside. i\’ve delt with too many cops who are prejudiced against bikes…even the ones who ride. let them deal with the traffic problems. this is wrong wrong wrong. i want to be safe on the road.

Do it tonight
Guest
Do it tonight

today would have more impact – 7pm

Zach
Guest
Zach

I\’m thinking that a candlelight vigil in the intersection would be the most appropriate response. Friday\’s likely the best day, too.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I would say Ray Thomas is the one who would know, given his role in uncovering this hidden gem.

It is an interesting question, because the statute isn\’t clear about that point, but I suspect a.O. has the correct answer.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I\’ll head over there

Karl Rohde
Guest
Karl Rohde

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is deeply saddened by this horrific incident. We are stunned by reports that there will be no citation issued. We will follow the investigation very closely to discern how they could conclude that the driver was not at fault.

We encourage all cyclists to be vigilant and safe in an environment that contains negligent and outright hostile elements. We will continue our efforts to improve the safety of bicyclists through engineering, education and enforcement.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the cyclist.

andy
Guest
andy

It\’s amazing how effectively Kruger cut out the rest of the legal system, just by saying \”no citation will be issued.\” Who needs judges or juries?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

andy, a vulnerable user of a public way prosecution, and/or a wrongful death suit, will be far more powerful than a failure to yield prosecution.

not a lawyer
Guest
not a lawyer

Wow, so everybody here is apparently a lawyer. Nobody seems open to the possibility that:

a. it was indeed an accident
b. cyclists can be and frequently are at fault in accident situtation
c. frequently break the very laws they complain about automobiles breaking (running stop signs, for example).

And wear your helmets. You cannot complain about other people not respecting your safety if you do not respect it yourself.

Do I drive, yes. Do I ride (defensively), yes.

JT
Guest
JT

andy..not how the legal system works…sorry. think about it..

I\’ll be there tonight at 7pm…I\’m not blaming anyone…believe it or not, accidents do happen and sometimes the \”blame\” lies on both parties involved..the actions of one can negate the outcome. what does a 242$ ticket do to help the family with their loss or the driver with his/her lifetime guilt?

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

I\’ll be there.

BURR
Guest
BURR

a $242 failure to yield ticket doesn\’t seem like much, but it firmly establishes fault in the crash, which makes the results of any follow-up civil actions that much more certain.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

believe it or not, accidents do happen

It\’s possible that she was both riding completely legally, and not positioned safely for crossing the intersection. If the driver can\’t see you because of where you\’re positioned, there\’s not much the driver can do to keep from hitting you.

ScottB
Guest
ScottB

Police often do not issue citations so as to not prejudice prosecution by the DA. Sometimes (not often enough) if the DA does not file charges the police then issue a citation.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

A failure to yield conviction isn\’t about the money or punishment. It\’s about establishing fault.

Having the traffic court find the driver at fault for the accident is an important piece in the puzzle of further legal remedies.

Slick
Guest
Slick

why is the outcry so much more intense with this death than with the death from earlier this year? http://bikeportland.org/2007/08/29/man-dies-after-bike-on-bike-collision/

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

a $242 failure to yield ticket doesn\’t seem like much, but it firmly establishes fault in the crash, which makes the results of any follow-up civil actions that much more certain.

True, I suppose, but if the driver was negligent, it\’s really not necessary to have that little piece of paper to successfully prosecute the case.

And I would still feel insulted to have this incident reduced to a \”failure to yield.\” That should be reserved for fender benders. When somebody suffers serious injuries or death, that\’s a whole other level of violation we should be talking about.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

why is the outcry so much more intense with this death than with the death from earlier this year?

Us vs. Them hypocricy.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Us vs. Them hypocricy.

Actually, now that I think about it, the cyclist who died in that incident was the one who violated the other cyclist\’s right of way.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

note: I just updated this post with a bit more information about how the investigation and potential citation might play out.

Carl
Guest
Carl

There will be a slow ride up Burnside to the site of the accident tomorrow (Friday).

It will start from the west approach of the Burnside Bridge (where the Burnside is closed to motor vehicles).

Meet at 6pm.
Ride at 6:30.

Candles, flowers, notes…bring whatever you think is appropriate.

Tim
Guest

You can\’t fail to yield if you can\’t see anyone you need to yield to.

Everyone seems to be blaming the driver, but the fault doesn\’t seem self-evident to me.

Consider this scenario:

The driver approached the intersection with turn signal on, and stopped. The cyclist then approached the intersection, and pulled alongside the truck, right into his blind spot. The light turns green, he checks his mirror and proceeds to turn, right into the cyclist\’s path.

I think it\’s a terrible event no matter who is to blame, but I really hesitate to jump to conclusions so fast before all the facts are in.

If I am dead wrong in my understanding of the relevant law, or if I am missing something that undeniably establishes the driver\’s culpability here, I\’d greatly appreciate it if someone could enlighten me.

Tbird
Guest
Tbird

I\’ll be there tonight

Carl
Guest
Carl

(Sorry to use the term \”accident.\” It\’s so ingrained. My apologies.)

Dan (teknotus)
Guest
Dan (teknotus)

There is a special Breakfast on Hawthorn Bridge tomorrow.

https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/shift/2007-10/msg00069.html

The sun won\’t rise until 7:23 tomorrow. I\’m planning on bringing a light for that as well.

Curt Dewees
Guest
Curt Dewees

Tim\’s comment (#43) seems to make the most sense out of this tragic death. It\’s possible that the driver never saw the cyclist and never knew she was there .. until it was too late.

This is one of the biggest problems with striped bike lanes: Cars and trucks turning right have to cross them, even when bikes are going straight thru. The result: Car & truck drivers don\’t always see the cyclist (who presumably has the right-of-way). And even when the car/truck drivers DO see the cyclist, they don\’t always yield the right of way. [I\’m not saying that\’s what happened in today\’s death. I wasn\’t there. I obviously don\’t know.]

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Tim, post 43:

I think you laid out one scenario that would explain why a driver might not receive a citation, or even be negligent.

leftcoaster
Guest
leftcoaster

It is hard to figure out how something like this could happen, since according to the witness statements the truck was not going fast and stopped immediately when someone yelled for him to stop.

jp
Guest
jp

Beyond whether the driver is or isn\’t at fault, planners need to reconfigure how bike lanes are laid out. How many bikers have been hit and/or died due to autos making right turns? Relying on the driver to yield to bikers isn\’t working!