Oregonian: Truck driver has had 25 speeding convictions

Posted by on October 24th, 2007 at 1:10 am

*[Updated 10/24, 5:11pm]

(Photo: Bob Mionske)

Today’s edition of the Oregonian has more coverage of the collision that claimed the life of Brett Jarolimek.

One of their stories, Truck driver has checkered record, reports that the driver of the garbage truck has had, “…a string of run-ins with police, including 25 convictions for speeding, driving without a license and other traffic violations.”

The story details says he had “an assortment of charges, including speeding, violation the basic [speed] rule and failure to obey a traffic signal”. According to Oregonian reporter Helen Jung, his troubles began in 1988 and his most recent conviction came in March of this year.

Lieutenant Mark Kruger is quoted in the story as saying, “That stuff is largely irrelevant to the investigation…We’re not the issuing authority of licenses. We only enforce the law.”

I’m not a legal expert, but I would imagine that this guy’s record would/should play a part in the District Attorney’s review of the Police’s investigation of the crash. (Can any lawyers chime in here?)

Here’s another part of the story that caught my attention:

“Richard Lowes, Bryan Lowes’ father, said Tuesday that his son was unavailable for comment because he was sleeping in preparation for an early-morning work shift.”

Does that mean he’s still driving?

*UPDATE: Here’s a comment that just came in from someone claiming to be a driver for AGG Enterprises:

“I want to put it out there right now. I work for AGG and can say that as of Monday Bryan was giving time off pending the outcomes of all the investigations. The Oregonian got it wrong. We all realize that people are upset and that is understandable. But since Monday many drivers have experienced middle fingers, and rocks being thrown at our trucks (from bicyclist). We are out there trying to make a living and feed our children. This is a tragedy and we all feel horrible but the violence is not the answer.”

Read the article on OregonLive.com.

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savannah
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savannah

i will call the company to ask them not to hire people with horrible driving records. 25 ton vehicles. unbelievable.

A G G Enterprises Inc

Phone: (503) 283-2015

5555 N Channel Ave Bldg 3, Portland, OR 97217-7655

Steven J.
Guest
Steven J.

Civil litigation is likely where this information would play a larger role.
AGG has a responsibility to the public safety as well as the question to ODOT why he even still had his CDL.

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

When it\’s not enough to suggest your pet piece of legislation, rather than enforcement and education, is the solution to a problem, and it\’s not enough to misconstrue \”sometimes it\’s X\’s fault, sometime\’s it\’s Y\’s fault\” as a cold hard 50-50 statistic, I guess the next step is to plainly state that a prior record isn\’t considered relevant to an investigation less than 48 hours old. Let\’s all have a big hand for Lt. Kruger, doing his usual bang-up job of shooting his mouth off to the media and taking sizeable chunks of his foot out in the process.

Klixi
Guest
Klixi

25?!?!?! That\’s huge… and yet Mark Kruger will still find a way to \”defend\” this. And we\’re supposedly a better cycling city than Copenhagen? Right. This is sad, embarassing, ridiculous and pathetic. Justice is a basic human right not afforded to cyclists in Portland.

Dave Roth
Guest
Dave Roth

Habitual offenders, such as this driver, often seem to be responsible for the type of tragic and completely unnecessary carnage witnessed recently.

In Eugene, two pedestrians were mowed down in a crosswalk last week. One was killed and the other seriously injured. The driver, who fled the scene, was later caught and was found to have had two prior DUI convictions and was driving with a suspended license (until 2009) at the time of the collision.

I would like to see an organization or media outlet compile a list of Oregonians with currently suspended licenses (available through the DMV or courts?) and determine whether or not these people are actually obeying their sentences. A documentary film could make a serious impact in bringing the ineffectiveness of current practices to light.

Unfortunately, in Brett\’s case this will be of no consequence. Something is seriously wrong when someone with a record like this AGG driver\’s is even considered for this type of employment.

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

Self-righteous cagers leaving bikeportland.org in 3… 2… 1…

a.O
Guest
a.O

One of the cardinal rules of law (typically in a criminal context) is that other prior bad acts are not to be used for the purpose of demonstrating whether someone committed a later act. Otherwise, every trial or proceeding would become a character trial, and public policy favors having the factual basis of each event established on its own merits.

There are some exceptions to this, but I think it is indeed the case here that these prior convictions will not factor in to the investigation.

However, this does raise a couple of very important points:

1. AGG hired and retained this guy despite having reason to know that he was such a bad driver that he should never have been employed commercially. They can and should be held liable for his negligent hiring (in addition to other theories of liability against AGG).

2. Every responsible citizen should be asking themselves this question: \”How do people like this remain on the road?\” Drivers like this have killed more Oregonians in Oregon this year than terrorists. If ever there was a role for government, it\’s to protect citizens from stuff like this. Please write your Legislator and demand a bill that permanently revokes licenses for people who habitually commit dangerous traffic offenses, and that makes it a felony to drive after having a license revoked.

Curt Dewees
Guest
Curt Dewees

Suppose Killer Driver Bryan Lowes still is employed by AGG Enterprises and still driving a truck. [WTF !!!]

Is there any legal basis for the rest of us to conduct a citizen\’s arrest and physical detain Mr. Lowes on the spot if we ever see him attempting to drive a truck or other motorized vehicle, ever again? He is a lethal danger to all of society, and should be stopped before he kills again.

[Probably not much of a legal basis for a standing \”Citizen\’s Arrest Warrant.\” I understand that the police and the justice system are supposed to protect us from people like this.]

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

I echo a.O\’s point #2.

Why in the heck does this guy have a license AT ALL? That he still had a CDL, and is driving right NOW is utterly mind blowing.

Brian E
Guest
Brian E

25 traffic violation convictions in 20 years? I can\’t even think of a comment to follow. Geeze! I wonder how many warnings and dismissals there were? How does he drive when there are no cops on the road?

I\’m trying not to pass judgement on this poor soul but my God it looks bad.

And this guy drives a truck?

Matt Picio
Guest

Yes, why *did* he still have his CDL?

As for Lt. Kruger – irrelevant, my ass. Using that logic, there\’s no reason whatsoever why police should watch closely a previously convicted felon who is pacing outside a convenience store on the sidewalk. I mean, just because he robbed a liquor store and was busted for 4 misdemeanor assaults outside convenience stores over the last 8 years – that fact is \”largely irrelevant.\”

Um…. right.

littlewaywelt
Guest
littlewaywelt

The guy\’s previous criminal history is complete irrelevant to whether or not he has committed a crime in this instance and it won\’t be used at trial or in determining whether or not he should be charged. Where his previous criminal record can be used is in sentencing, if he is charged and subsequently found guilty

self-righteous cager
Guest
self-righteous cager

In response to #5

Well guess that depends on how many tickets and convictions Brett Jarolimek had.

Which I\’m sure is irrelavent right?
I wonder if anyone even bothered to look-

…or test ~his~ blood for alcohol or drugs.

What would be your tune if he were impaired?

jeff
Guest
jeff

This is horrible indeed, however what are the options? I\’m not defending the driver\’s action in the least, however even though Portland is a remarkably easy city to get around in without a car, its still not good enough to have the majority of people feel like they can do without one.

I agree people who have repeatedly shown they shouldn\’t be driving, well…shouldn\’t be driving (especially heavy, dangerous trucks). Until the infrastructure and attitudes change to present viable options to the contrary then driving will continue to be seen as a right rather than the privilege it is.

joel
Guest

oh youve got to be freaking kidding me.

driver had a consistent record of traffic violations, and kruger deems this \”largely irrelevant\”? AND this guy is still driving a truck, with apparently no downtime for having been involved in a fatal crash? regardless of fault, its revolting that he isnt off the road on paid leave or something at least until resolution of this investigation, never mind how the hell someone with that consistent a record of violations still has a license at all…

“Richard Lowes, Bryan Lowes’ father, said Tuesday that his son was unavailable for comment because he was sleeping in preparation for an early-morning work shift.” that means hes out there somewhere this morning – be careful everyone.

self-righteous cager
Guest
self-righteous cager

In response to #9

Suggesting thinly veiled lynch mobs and vigilantism doesn\’t really sound like a good idea.

TomasCoSauce
Guest

NO FLIPPING WAY.

I\’ve had non-driving jobs that wouldn\’t hire you if you had so much as a blip on your driving record…what the F*** is this guy doing in a CDL REQUIRED VEHICLE?!

a.O
Guest
a.O

\”The guy\’s previous criminal history is complete irrelevant to whether or not he has committed a crime in this instance and it won\’t be used at trial…\”

No, this is wrong on both counts.

First, the history of driving violations is legally relevant to the present circumstances because it does make it more likely, however slightly, that there was a violation here. But public policy considerations dictate otherwise, and that\’s why there is a rule of evidence specifically making such evidence inadmissible despite its relevance.

Second, there are exceptions to this rule and they mean that this evidence *may* in fact be presented at trial. One exception is for showing a habitual pattern of behavior. Whether it will get into evidence in court is uncertain.

b
Guest
b

how is kruger still employed???
i\’m guessing that his long history of anti-bike agenda is \”largely irrelevant\”

Sasha
Guest
Sasha

Just want to second A.O.\’s comments above. It\’s pretty important to not let the past color the present, and remember that people are innocent until proven guilty.

In that light, Kruger is spot on. The past offenses are indeed irrelevant to their investigation of the current incident. They are there to collect evidence and testimony so that a DA can decide if there\’s any guilt to be laid, and subsequently any guilt to be proven.

S

Vance
Guest

What about racial profiling? What about ordinance, and statute designed to target specific groups? Think before you speak. I used to live on SE 122nd Ave., here in Portland. I went to high-school out there. I was pulled over, and cited, three times in a row, for a perfectly functioning license plate light. I took pictures to court. If you weren\’t from California, you\’d know that this was an area of town that the city was trying to curtail, \”cruising\”, by the young people in the area.

What about Hispanics? Do you think that Hispanics aren\’t pulled over and cited more frequently than whites, or other groups? Are you asserting that, when this is the case, that these people are not entitled to a fair chance at a job?

The police clearly use traffic stops as a means of harassing certain groups of people. A practice, I\’m sure you would agree, is loathsome, and unjust. Using your logic, when the police practice this deplorable policy, it should be compounded by further sanctions? A man\’s non-compliance with a court order for child support can result in having his driver license suspended. Should this person be kept from making a living?

In this country, one is innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, all bets are off once the time has been served, so to speak. According to the DMV, this garbage truck driver was a licensable person. That is the system in place. That system deemed this person fit to drive, end of story.

It\’s bad enough that this guy\’s previous driving record is probably going to get him crucified in civil court. But it\’s way worse to bring up his driving record, in a criminal context, after the fact, and completely out of context. What about learning from your mistakes? Are you saying that anyone, who does anything, should pay for that regardless of the crime, and regardless whether they\’ve already been punished?

littlewaywelt
Guest
littlewaywelt

\”No, this is wrong on both counts.\”
Not so. It\’s been a while since I\’ve had crim and I\’m not familiar with OR code, but you have to admit that it would be beyond highly unlikely for his previous driving record to go in at trial unless the defense opens that door; it would be incredibly prejudicial.

It\’s only relevant at sentencing.

Lenny Anderson
Guest

Has PPB ever done a truck driver sting? or do they just do that to keep cyclists from coasting through stop signs?
One crime in all this is the use of police resources for the latter when the former goes neglected.
Time is long passed for new blood at the Traffic Division.

littlewaywelt
Guest
littlewaywelt

Vance, you can be punished in the civil system and the criminal system. They aren\’t mutually exclusive. Learn from his mistakes? You have to be kidding. He\’s had 25 chances to learn. I hope that he loses his house and everything he owns.

a.O
Guest
a.O

littlewaywelt, we\’ll have to agree to disagree. The past citations meet the legal relevancy test. As I say, that\’s why there is a specific rule in the ORCP excluding such evidence. I do agree it\’s unlikely that such evidence would ultimately be introduced at trial because of its prejudicial value (even if it met one of the exceptions), but I also agree that it\’s not impossible.

Anyway, this is a side issue and I\’m more interested in advocating for a law that will keep people like this off the road. I think we can all agree on that.

danielc
Guest
danielc

wow..25 traffic violations!!..and those were the ones that were actually caught. One can only imagine how this guy drives day to day. Be careful out there!

Mmann
Guest
Mmann

Unfortunately, to make the changes necessary (and in some small way to honor Brett by protecting others) litigation may be necessary. Is the company that hired Mr. Lowes partially responsible for Brett\’s death? I think evidence could show they were. If so, they should face a lawsuit with the goal being they change their hiring practices. This also sends a strong message to other companies who may have drivers with similar records to clean house or else. Additionally, does the City of Portland share responsibility if they knew the intersection was a dangerous one ? (that would depend on prior accidents there) If so, they should perhaps be sued as well, again with the goal that this type of intersection/signal/marking be changed to reduce the possibility of this type of tragedy happening again. It\’s an unfortunate reality of our times that business and government often need to be forced to change and that the best form of leverage is often a stiff financial penalty.

Dave J.
Guest
Dave J.

Our system is far too lenient with people who demonstrate, over and over, that they do not deserve the right to operate a motor vehicle. We see it time and time again–a person whose license has been suspended 12 times kills a pedestrian, or a person with 8 DUI convictions kills a cyclist, or this latest absurdity. The basic problem, as I see it, is that the DMV and the state imposes weak penalties on people who are unlikely to care. A repeat drinker/driver doesn\’t care that you gave him a ticket, or suspended his license. What matters are *real* consequences. We need to start taking vehicles from people who are repeat offenders, and we need to bar them from driving as part of their job.

Until there are meaningful penalties for repeat offenders, these things are going to keep happening.

David Dean
Guest
David Dean

I like the idea of a point system where marks go on people\’s records and then their licenses are pulled after a certain point. But in America it seems like people have such a sense of entitlement that if we were to pull licenses from miscreants then we would have more people driving without insurance.

I think a big step toward improving road safety would be to increase accountability. In this case a data logger would give us a more complete understanding of what actually happened, rather than relying on inherently flawed witness testimony. We need black boxes in autos.

Another big step toward accountability would be to install more traffic cameras. Rather than installing expensive traffic calming devices like roundabouts and speed bumps, we should be installing revenue generating speed cameras which are considerably more effective and don\’t cause problems for emergency vehicles.

David Dean
Guest
David Dean

@29 Agreed, alongside pulling licenses, we need to start pulling vehicles.

Nikos T
Guest
Nikos T

Kruger: \”We only enforce the law.\”

Law: \”Drivers must give the right of way to a cyclist in a bicycle lane.\”

DougH
Guest
DougH

It was shocking to find out that the driver of the garbage truck was back at work today when clearly AGG hasn\’t had time to investigate this properly. It would suprise me greatly to find out that their insurance company knew they hired drivers with this kind of record. Irregardless of the outcome of this crash investigation, Mr. Lowes shouldn\’t have a CDL and a prudent company wouldn\’t employ him to drive.

Road Rage
Guest

There are obviously deeper problems in place when a driver of a vehicle which requires a specialized license (which is percieved to also have controlled access and require passing of a test) still carries that license after what I believe most would consider to be an \”unreasonable\” number of traffic related convictions which would under normal circumstances render this individual incapable of consciously and safely operating a vehicle of any kind – much less one of this size and consequence.

My question is this: where is the break-down in the system that has allowed this man to continue to operate a vehicle? Lt. Kreuger is correct that it is not the police department\’s responsibility to oversee the distribution of driver\’s licenses, but how did such a blatent offender slip through the cracks?

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

I can\’t believe you can still have a OR CDL with that many violations under your belt. Doesn\’t that put you in the category Habitual Traffic Offender? In California my license was suspended for getting 4 violations in 1 year. What is the law here?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Isn\’t there a Share the Road class run by the City, trauma nurses, the BTA, Court Judges etc?

Why wasn\’t the truck driver offered this class by police? It seems somebody with 25 speeding violations could sure use it.

If the police aren\’t offering this class to folks like THIS, then lord only knows who they ARE offering it to.

akeelah
Guest
akeelah

can i ask a question?

if you\’re in the process of being hired by AGG, do you just check boxes to state if you have a CDL or past infractions? if you say yes to cdl and no to past infractions, do they say fine… or is there a follow-up? did somebody actually plug this guys info into a database?

If AGG doesn\’t follow-up, does this mean nobody who hires drivers (of other commercial trucks like cement mixers) checks either? is it too expensive?

If they did check his past… and hired him, well, that would seem neglegent…

so what\’s the process here?

S
Guest
S

Who\’s up for some good old civil disobedience? If thousands of cyclists stop paying their garbage bills until AGG and the other contracted garbage collectors in Portland purge drivers unders their employment with histories of serious traffic violations (DUI, driving while suspended, repeated speeding) it will force the city to take notice and address the issue.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

And Kruger doesn\’t see a problem.

I do, and it\’s wearing a police lieutenant\’s uniform.

trailmike
Guest
trailmike

Interesting that one of his tickets was for failing to wear a seat belt. I\’ve heard a number of stories where greater charges are reduced for whatever reason to failing to wear a seat belt. Maybe that was the ticket, but maybe it was something worse.

I\’m with everyone else in being surprised he still has a CDL. My wife and I were discussing what consequences are appropriate right after this accident happened and we both felt that losing ones commercial license seems more than fair- in both of these accidents. If you can\’t see to avoid these collisions, you are not well equipped or trained to operate your vehicle and you absolutely deserve to lose your license and your job.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Here it is –

http://www.legacyhealth.org/body.cfm?id=1928

This class should be offered to people who violate a whole long list of traffic laws, ***including*** –

!…failure to yield the right of way and/or defective equipment or non-use of safety equipment.\”

dayaram
Guest
dayaram

just because the drivers father SAYS he is going to work does not mean that the company is gonig to let him drive. Get a grip!

Jason
Guest
Jason

So…if you cause a death by violating a traffic law, WHY DO WE LET YOU CONTINUE TO DRIVE??? Many places in Europe have a \”one strike you\’re out\” when you cause serious injury or death.

I think the right thing to do to these people is to make them a target^H^H^H^H^H^Hpedestrian.

Non-cyclist
Guest
Non-cyclist

toddistic #7

name-calling folks really doesn\’t help. I saw on KOIN news a poll that they did where three-quarters of the respondents said that they believed the cyclist was at fault in motorvehicle vs. bicycle accidents.

So let\’s say that this driver gets brought up on charges. And is tried by a jury of his peers. The way sentiment is running these days, there would be a unfair bias by the jury in favor of the driver.

We, cyclists and \”cagers\” have to change this, TOGETHER.

I have to drive defensively because my little car held together by chewing gum and popsicle sticks, is no match for the Hummers, 18 wheelers and such that aren\’t so much into sharing the road. I have been followed by an angry motorist down MLK and it scared me. And I was in a f*cking car. And he still coulda killed me.

Conversely, I tend to infantalize cyclists. I drive as though I expect them run stop signs, cut across multiple traffic lanes w/o signaling, alternate between identifying as a pedestrian and a vehicle, have no lights and wear black clothes at night. So I give them a wide berth, I\’d rather surrender the lane or street than risk the possibility of harming someone. Seriously.

I have friends who rides bikes, not-so-much \”cyclists\” they\’re all pretty safety-conscious. And I still worry about how all this enmity will affect them, when some unbalanced yahoo decides to \”go after\” bikers. I\’ve lived in cities where motorists have purposefully mowed down pedestrians (which I was exclusively for the first 30 years of my life).

Cyclists are either part of the larger community or not. I think we\’ll work better together.

VR
Guest
VR

Actually, I don\’t know if a.O and others are in fact lawyers, and I am certainly not – but I just this last week I was party to a trial in which a prior criminal record – which was not vehicular related – was used to convict someone of a vehicular crime.

That person is now sitting in jail.

However, that person hit another person in a car – and those of us here know that hitting another car gets much more attention than hitting a bicycle.

In criminal cases in Oregon – prior record can be used to establish patterns of behavior, and any prior criminal record is cause for the judge and jury to officially consider the defendant a \”non trustworthy\” witness.

Again, I am not a lawyer. But I was *at the trial* and watched a non-vehicular prior record be used to convict a person of a vehicular crime.

So while it most assuredly does depend upon the case, prior record can be used – and at least in Oregon, is used.

Additionally, after the conviction the prior record is also used in sentencing – there is even official guidelines based on prior record.

Big Diesel
Guest
Big Diesel

Granted, this driver had a poor driving record. I would not hire him for my trucks nor would my insurance company allow me to add the driver. But the cycling community hysteria continues… It is obvious the cyclists in this town feel they do not need to be responsible for their riding abilities or lack thereof around other vehicles. I as a truck driver make every effort possible to operate safely around other vehicles,pedestrians, and even bicycles. Maybe the cycling community could try riding safely and with responsibility also……

Art A.
Guest
Art A.

According to a currently posted (URL, below) AGG Enterprises jobdango.com employment ad, Bryan Lowes\’ could have only been considered for employment there if his driving record was considered acceptable by the AGG HR department. I guess 25 convicted traffic offenses must have constituted an \”acceptable driving record.\” If this company considers 25 convictions for speeding, driving without a license and other traffic violations part of an \”acceptable driving record,\” I wonder what the hell the \”acceptable driving\” records of other AGG drivers look like.

the ad:
http://www.jobdango.com/jobseekers/apply.asp?ID=124432&Searchp=1&Page=

phred
Guest
phred

as someone who used to be in the fact-checking business, i\’d reckon that the fact checking was never done by agg due to money and turnaround time. probably asked if he was convicted as a felon, and given some keys after he checked \”no\”.

David Dean
Guest
David Dean

Diesel, I assure you this is not hysteria. As I was biking past the scene of the accident I was right hooked twice by negligent and impatient drivers. This isn\’t some abstract problem for us this is a frequent hazard. Every time a car passes us approaching an intersection, we are at risk. Calling for defensive riding is fine, but no amount of defensive riding is going to make up for the gross negligence commonly exhibited by drivers.

Wendy
Guest
Wendy

\”could have only been considered for employment there if his driving record was considered acceptable by the AGG HR department.\”

This actually isn\’t up to HR, it\’s up to AGG\’s insurance. A (responsible) company will not allow an employee with a poor record to drive because he will not be covered by the insurance. Now the question is how many of those violations were in the last 3 years? If there were few and they were not very severe then the insurance company might allow the employee to be on the company policy. Whether or not he *should* have a cdl is not something AGG nor their insurance can control, but since he does then it\’s a matter of whether or not the insurance deems him to be an acceptable risk, and this is based on the previous 3 years (generally) of his driving record.

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

Big Diesel: You\’re perfectly willing to pigeonhole the cycling community as a bunch of lawless hooligans, and yet perfectly willing to differentiate between the behavior of individuals when it comes to who\’s behind the wheel of a large truck. What gives? Is this genuine willful antagonism , or do you just plain not understand the similarity?