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Cyclist found at fault in fatal Hillsboro collision

Posted by on October 31st, 2007 at 10:40 am

Approximate crash location. Click for Google Map.

KATU has the story of a collision last Friday in Hillsboro that resulted in the death of 47 year-old Hillsboro resident Kerry Alfred Teufel.

Here’s what they reported:

“According to Hillsboro police, Teufel was riding east in the traffic lanes on Southwest Oak Street near Southwest 17th Avenue about 6:30 p.m. when the incident occurred. Christopher Currens, 34, of Hillsboro, was driving the same direction and did not see the cyclist – who was wearing dark clothes and no helmet and was straddling the fast and slow lanes with his bike – until his Ford Focus was very close, police said.

Currens honked his horn and slammed on his brakes to avoid a crash, and the cyclist swerved into the car, hitting the front quarter panel, police said. Teufel’s body then flipped into the air and struck the pavement, causing a serious head injury, police said.”

KATU also reports that Hillsboro police have listed the cyclist as being at fault in the collision. Police still don’t know why the cyclist swerved into the car and according to the Oregonian, they say the cyclist “had amphetamines in his system”.

Read more coverage of the incident via Google News.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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jami
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jami

always sad.

but this cyclist had amphetamines in his blood, according to a news report i read. that factors in.

it would be good to get more helmets to at-risk cyclists.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

There was a report that there were amphetimines in his system as well which might explain his erratic behavior.

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

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

thanks tonyt and jami, I\’ve added that information to the post.

Vance
Guest

\’In his system\’, and, \’under the influence\’, are two different things you snobs. In non-fatal accidents, helmets cause more injuries than they prevent. This irresponsible article is brutally biased, and you all are lapping it up. What was the driver wearing? Where was his helmet? Or are you now going to argue that motorists involved in accidents never hurt their heads? The BTA, and to a lesser extent, BikePortland.org, have elected THEMSELVES the de-facto voice of the Portland cyclist. If you are going to claim this, then you must own it all. Instead, you are going to say that you speak for all cyclists, over and over again; but then hang a biker out to dry based on the biased reporting of but one journalist. Do you people have no shame? By the way J, did you see MY story about this?

http://360.yahoo.com/vancelongwell

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Vance #4

Do YOU amphetamines in your system? That post didn\’t make any sense at all.

Dr. Mark Ross
Guest
Dr. Mark Ross

Vance sez: \”In non-fatal accidents, helmets cause more injuries than they prevent.\”

Really, can you cite a source?

jimmy
Guest
jimmy

don\’t even bother vance…every poster on here would have every cyclist wrapped up in bubble wrap with full blown flood lights on their bike. \”Do it our way or don\’t do it at all\”, that\’s the portland way.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Vance,
I think you need to relax a little.

Reporting is reporting.

You do not have to come here and read the articles.

You must have chosen to click on Bike Portland, right?

In my opinion, it is as important to point out that a cyclist is at fault in an accident, as it is to point out that a driver is a fault.

In fact, it my be much more important to point out when a cyclist is at fault. So we may learn from the mistakes of others. It is too late to save him, so let\’s try to save some others, through education.

Also, at that point, when we discover this,knowing he was not wearing a helmet is very, very relevant, considering the fact that he died from a head injury.

And while it is true he may not have been high at the time, but just had drugs in his system, it is important to know how his judgment may have been impaired, even due to yesterday\’s, or last weeks, use of amphetamines. It is in the system, it has affected you in some manner. This I know.

This is relevant info to have.

I am sure Vance, that if the driver had drugs in his system your stance would be different.

But the proper choice to make when reporting injury or death due to obvious negligence, is to point out some of the reasons why the bad decisions may have been made.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

Vance said:
\”The BTA, and to a lesser extent, BikePortland.org, have elected THEMSELVES the de-facto voice of the Portland cyclist.\”

Vance, please tell me how exactly I\’ve \”elected myself\” to this position.

\”…then hang a biker out to dry based on the biased reporting of but one journalist.\”

First, this \”one journalist\” reported the same facts that all the other outlets reported… and that were lifted directly from Police statements (that\’s another topic).

Second, please tell me how exactly I \”hung this guy out to dry\”. When I re-read my post it seems like I\’m merely sharing the information with the community (after several people wrote to me wondering why I hadn\’t covered this story).

And thanks for sharing the link to your Yahoo page, now I know where to go to read about your perspectives.

By the way, I enjoyed our chat at City Hall the other night.

Keep in touch.

matevz
Guest
matevz

Dr. Ross #6:

This is a link to a summary of several studies looking at helmet use and brain injury. I don\’t think it necessarily supports Vance\’s claim, but it is interesting.

http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/h-i-mech.htm

brodie
Guest
brodie

While I agree with Vance that this story could be biased, it is moreso inline with how Jonathan described it: the reporting of what the Police said, which was probably biased (as it has been so in so many other cases recently). There is absolutely no reason to come on here and denigrate Jonathan for merely passing along the only information available.

And saying that helmets cause more harm than they protect against is possibly one of the most sadly misinformed statements I\’ve heard. If somebody was going to take a swing at you with a golf club, tell me, would you prefer a helmet or not?

Klixi
Guest
Klixi

Vance: and yet if the roles were switched, if the driver had meth in his system, if the driver was driving with his lights off (the equivalent of riding a bike at night in black clothes with no light) and hit a cyclist, would you be rushing to defend the driver? If anyone here is biased it is you.

JT
Guest
JT

with all due respect, Jamie..

putting a helmet on the head of a meth user is a waste of time…they already don\’t give a ratsh*t about their life..and a helmet will be the last thing they think of….

Vance, its blatantly obvious you\’re severely uneducated about brain injury and helmet use…

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Wow Vance, with such outstanding logic and diplomacy skills, I just can\’t imagine why the name of your \”site\” isn\’t on the lips of everyone in town!

Jessy
Guest

\”In non-fatal accidents, helmets cause more injuries than they prevent.\”

That is one of the weirdest things I have ever read. Is it possibly because in non-fatal accidents people tend to be wearing helmets? Whereas in fatal accidents they\’re not? So yes, you might have a lot of injuries when your helmet is on… But that\’s because you\’re alive with injuries, as opposed to dead. If you look at it that way.

rex
Guest
rex

Vance really has a warped sense of importance. Here is one of his comments ripped from his website…

\”Well the weekend frakas caught me off gaurd a bit. Didn\’t know I\’d become the de-facto voice of reason for the GLOBAL cycling community. I blew up a local press conference on bike safety on Friday. You\’d think I kicked somebody\’s baby across the street! Made national news. I\’ve done a little over forty interviews since Friday and I have lost track of correspondence a little.\”

Heeelarious.

bArbaroo
Guest
bArbaroo

Re- #16 – when and where was this article published?

Also, note that all of the references in the article are a bit old – 1996 is the most recent. Helmets have changed substantilly in the past 11 years. SOme of the data was in the era of lycra covered helmets so it would be helpful to know if this is a recent article or something old being recirculated on the web…and we all know that the web is ALWAYS a reliable source of information.

Jessy
Guest

Hm…

All his posts are about all the things that he\’s angry about… News reporters, BikePortland.org & the BTA, Tiny\’s Coffee. He apparently hates it all.

It sure is easy to sit at home and complain incessantly through your blog, isn\’t it?

Whether or not you agree with Jonathan or the BTA or anyone else, at least they\’re ACTIVELY working to enact change that they feel would make Portland a better city. Through spreading knowledge, awareness, pushing to update laws, whatever.

I guess if someone wants to hatemonger on a blog all day, that\’s his/her perogative. It just seems like there are a lot more productive (and less negative) ways to spend your time.

Marcello
Guest
Marcello

Sunset on Friday was at 6.08 PM, and if I remember the weather on that afternoon correctly, there was quite a bit of light coming from the West, most likely more than enough to see a bike riding East at 20 minutes after sunset. In this case, not seeing the bike had nothing to do with it being dark, or that the rider was wearing dark clothes. Cars drive very fast in that stretch of road as they get into Hillsboro, after the long straight stretch from Cornelius. Too often they barely pay attention to each other, and no attention to speed limit signage or anything smaller than a car. While the rider may have been at fault this time (who knows, he can\’t tell his side of the story), that is one dangerous stretch of road to be riding on.

Jonathon Severdia
Guest
Jonathon Severdia

People, I know it betrays the progressive belief that everyone can be helped, but please do not feed the trolls.

Vance
Guest

I wasn\’t very clear about which reporter I was flaming. My problem is with Suzzane Pardington of the Oregonian, not you Mr. Maus. You\’re doing alright J, I just don\’t appreciate you supporting the BTA, nothing personal. I also appreciate you allowing my post, sorry about the link. I just wanted it known that a ball got dropped this weekend. Sam Adams has stated repeatedly that he regularly consults with, \’cyclists\’, and stake-holders about policy change. In actuality he regularly consults with a tiny minority of cyclist-cum-political activists, and then uses language to obfuscate this, and make it seem that he is acting on behalf of all cyclists in Portland.

My point. Have your little clubs. Organize. Ride for the environment. I don\’t really care. But drop this, \’we\’, crap, because the BTA, and THEIR SUPPORTERS, clearly don\’t include bicycle riders like Mr. Teufel, or myself for that matter. The BTA site is littered with the phrase, \’cycling community\’. I\’m in the, \’cycling community\’, and you don\’t see me at any of your meetings, do you? If the BTA would restrict themselves to simply promoting the sport, I\’d have no problem. But the BTA isn\’t just promoting the sport. The BTA advocates changes to a system that EVERYONE uses. And worse yet, they do it with the justification that they speak for the, \’cycling community\’.

You wanna see some changes to the system, fine. Do it as a private citizen, not as a cyclist. As a private citizen, you are entitled to do whatever you want. The city is being given cart-blanche and when challenged, the city says it has the support of THE cycling community. Not a few members of the cycling community. Not a bicycle special interest group, but THE cycling community.

Blame Bricker for my presence in all of this anyway. I went to Tracy\’s memorial ride against my better judgment. It was just too horrible of a tragedy to miss the ride. Once there I was subjected to an ill-prepared, rambling speech, by Bricker about, get this, his frikkin familiy! I\’m not in your little club folks. I\’ve skidded down the road on my ass more miles than most of you will ever ride. You do not speak for me. Get the word, \’we\’, out of your mouths, get the phrase, \’cycling community\’, out of your dogma. The fact is, is that BikePortland.org, and the BTA comprise a teensy, tiny, little minority of bike riders in this community; and the way YOU all tell it, you speak for all of us.

So, until you can all get a clue, and realize that not everybody is on a bike for the same reasons that you all are, I will remain a big giant Ahole. Promise. With all of that said, I again thank you for the forum. I know that you must be proud of the work you are doing. Even though I lack respect for your politics regarding the, \’cycling community\’, I deeply respect your decision to allow my obnoxious posts. It took me a couple of days, because I\’m pretty naive with social situations, but I figured out that you were being disingenuous when we spoke at the press conference. I thought perhaps you were trying to reach out. In hindsight, you were being a dick, and my not realizing it, probably made me look stupid. So, even though you think I\’m a stupid dick, you let me post anyway, and well that\’s pretty kool, anyway you slice it.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I would like to add that back then, we had a mix of Styrofoam helmets, and Styrofoam helmets that had a small slick hard shell, like all helmets today.

These were the differences.

The strictly Styrofoam would grip when hitting the ground, stopping your head faster from going under a tire, but probably causing more neck and tissue damage.

Where as the Styrofoam with a slight hardshell would slide more, possibly putting your head under the car, or tires, but probably saving you from more neck and or soft tissue damage.

Now, these facts are not so relevant, as helmets in general have the slight hard shell covering.

But, even up until the mid 90\’s, you had a choice to make on the matter.

rex
Guest
rex

RE #17: Found that (and a lot more of his self-righteous BS) on one of the comment section on Vance\’s blog (see link in his comment above to visit it yourself). His comment to Jonathan was obviously meant to drive traffic to his site. However, once there you will find little more than his angry uninformed rantings. He seems like the kind of guy that thinks 9/11 was a government conspiracy. I think I\’ll tune him out now. Very annoying.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I\’ve just finished reading a bunch of Vance\’s stuff and I think he makes a lot of valid points. I know he\’s ruffling your feathers, but I also think that y\’all should give some credence to what he\’s saying and not dismiss him so quickly.

IMO, Vance\’s rants are a whole lot closer to the mark than the stupid crap the Willamette Week published today.

rex
Guest
rex

Vance- I don\’t know. Your postings on your website seem to indicate a \”problem\” with Jonathan.

\”Come now, come now. So much for the cycling community, you hypocrites. \’Any-body\’, is a good-body on a bike, right? Right. I thought we were all in this together? Right. Mr. Maus, I told you that I don\’t feel the need to be protected on the streets of Portland. Your response was to point out that there are less experienced cyclists, and wannabes, that your, \’movement\’, would not have intimidated. You said the mission is to include, to draw people into the lifestyle. If it is a head count you seek, then why the high-hat?

Out one side of your mouthS you speak the lie of inclusion. Out of the other, disdain. Surely you won\’t exile me, to that place beyond the village walls? The sign on the door reads: Everyone welcome. Apparently, in my case, there will be exceptions made. How gratifying. Tell me, while politely hiding whispers behind hands free of soil, have you ever thought to invite me to one of your, \’meetings\’?

Most of you came to my hometown from somewhere else. You take all of the desirable work in the core, you deride and mock me, you exclude me categorically; then criticize me for not being in your party of fools. At any time, during my excruciating outburst, did it occur to you that I was there, completely and utterly, by myself? That\’s called, \’personal authority\’, Mr. Maus.\”

And that is just the tip of the iceberg folks.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

You know, I see stupid cyclist tricks every single day, so it\’s not as if I believe that cyclists are always blameless…

But with all of the biased accident investigations recently, I\’m not willing to look at this incident without at least a bit of skepticism.

The cyclist was \”straddling\” the fast and slow lanes? Does that mean he was riding on the lane divider? If so, why? Was he changing lanes? Or was he riding erratically? Let\’s suppose he was changing lanes– wouldn\’t we expect him to be \”straddling\” the lane divider at some point during his lane change?

So the driver sawe him at the last minute, at least in part because the cyclist was wearing dark clothing. There\’s no question that retroereflective material has measurable effects in alerting drivers to your presence. However, although I think wearing dark clothing is extremely poor decision-making, it\’s not illegal, and it\’s not negligent. What the article doesn\’t mention is whether the cyclist had lights– did he have a blinkie? Did he have a front light? Was he required to by law at that hour? Based on the time of collision, it appears that he may not have been legally required to be equipped with lights. However, the ariucle doesn\’t say he had no lights-=- only that he was wearing dark clothing. Therefore, because the police took pains to list the ways in which the cyclist contributed to his own death, I think that absent any statement to the contrary, it\’s reasonable to assume that he did have lights.

Finally, the police claim to have no understanding of why he veered into the car. However, the report makes it clear why– the car honked its horn, and he rhen veered into its path– exactly what a startled person might do.

There are three questions that haven\’t been answered in all of this. First, how dark was it at 6:34, when he was hit? Was it within 30 minutes of sunset, or was it later? Second, was the cyclist required to have lights at that hour, and if so, did he have lights? And third, what was the driver\’s speed when he first saw the cyclist?

The answers to those questions will tell us more about the cause of this accident than the information that\’s been released so far.

jonno
Guest
jonno

My oh my, it gets worse. Vance on Scott Bricker (edited slightly for profanity):

\”See you on the road, Mr. Bricker. That is, if you even own a bike, you posturing, in-articulate, fake- tanned, just got here from the Bay Area, self-aggrandizing, opportunistic, child-abusing @$$HOLE. You\’ll know me because if I ever find you on the road, I\’ll be the guy standing over your prone form, expressing MY feelings about the cycling community in Portland. Now if only you could find YOUR way to the blind spot of a Concrete Mixer.\”

I shan\’t post the link, but it\’s there if you look for it. The site is a fascinating train wreck of pure unadulterated spleen, from which I can\’t tear myself away.

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

Vance,

If you don\’t like the way the BTA does things, then why don\’t you join the BTA and work to change those ways?

It is impossible to represent 100% of a userbase. Period.

I own and drive a car, but I disagree with most of the \”auto advocate organizations\” most of the time.

I own and ride a motorcycle and I sometimes disagree with the AMA and other motorcycle organizations.

I ride bicycles and am a BTA member, and I am sure that I will not agree 100% with everything the BTA does.

But the big picture is what we are talking about. Does the BTA help cycling as a whole? I think that they do. We all benefit from better bike access, infrastructure, and facilities. We all benefit from better bike exposure.

You don\’t have to agree with 100% of what anyone says or does. I like and support may political leaders despite disagreeing with them from time to time. It happens. Just accept that we are all different.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

One word: Whackadoo.

Dillon
Guest
Dillon

Just so you know amphetamine are not illegal. They are very commonly given to treat ADHD and chronic fatigue to name a few. At therapeutic levels amphetamines don\’t really have any side effects that would cause someone to swerve into a car. On the other hand abuse of the drug can cause a whole host of problems(hyperactivity, jitteriness, etc.

So just because he had amphetamine in his blood doesn\’t make him a Meth head.

geoffrey
Guest
geoffrey

\”Currens honked his horn\”

\”Police still don’t know why the cyclist swerved into the car\”

doh! Lets panic the rider and wonder which way they turn.

On another note:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911102200.htm

BURR
Guest
BURR

you just don\’t want to hear or don\’t like what he\’s saying, is all. Minds are like parachutes, etc.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Luckily I didn\’t even bother to go to his web site……….

My concession;

I do agree with one thing he said, and one only, but this is not the time nor place for that…..

But I do agree with Wyatt….

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

\”I didn\’t see him.\”

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

BURR said,
\”I\’ve just finished reading a bunch of Vance’s stuff and I think he makes a lot of valid points.\”

I also think he has some important and valid points to share, but his style unfortunately gets in the way of communicating them.

Vance and I talked at the City Hall press conference and I found him to be a completely reasonable person. He had some concerns about a few things and I just offered him a different perspective.

I thought we understood each other pretty well… but it\’s clear from reading his comments here and on his site, that for some reason he feels like now I\’m full of s***. That\’s too bad.

BURR
Guest
BURR

that\’s the internet for ya

a.O
Guest
a.O

Yup.

Disco D
Guest
Disco D

I used to ride that route a lot when trying to put training miles in (back in the race days). If I am not mistaken the speed limit goes from 55 to 35 right around there (going east anyway) so if it is true the guy was in the middle of the two traffic lanes I could the potential for disaster.

As for the Vance blog…I do agree with him in the fact that the suburbs seem to get less attention than maybe they should. I have had a Portland address for about 25 years now, but I work on the westside and I will be honest…I feel a lot more comfortable riding around just about in anywhere in Portland than I do in beaverton/hillsboro. Hillsboro (where I work) = high speed roads, crazy impatient drivers, and absolutely no regard for the few bike lanes there are.

rex
Guest
rex

Trolls are fun. This would be a great opportunity to hear from \”Big Diesel\”, don\’t you think?

Jonathon Severdia
Guest
Jonathon Severdia

\”So just because he had amphetamine in his blood doesn\’t make him a Meth head\”

No, but the location he was riding does. My parents live out in Cornelius so I ride that very street out from the last MAX stop to visit them. And as far as cycling is concerned, between Hillsboro and Cornelius on TV hwy it is only me and tweakers. There\’s actually a possibility that there will someday be a MUP bridging Cornelius to downtown Hillsboro along the confluence of Dairy and McKay creeks. That would be a wonderful thing…

Jonathon Severdia
Guest
Jonathon Severdia

well, that is until the tweakers take over the path.

Dan (teknotus)
Guest
Dan (teknotus)

As someone who has actually ridden a bicycle through this intersection I can say that it is a very scary place to be on a bicycle. Whether, or not the cyclist is \”at fault\” doesn\’t change the fact that it is a dangerous bike lane. I believe the speed limit is 40 there, and goes up to 50 in a short distance. To avoid this route you can either take highway 219 south (adds at least 4 miles to trip to Forest Grove), or you can take the north route which is almost as long, and takes you through the intersection where Tim was killed. The first mile south on 219 has a dropoff of at least 20 feet on both sides of the road with about 8 inches of shoulder, and a speed limit of 55. I think I can say there is no reasonable safe route between west Hillsboro, and Forest Grove for bikes. If there was a cycletrack between Hillsboro, and Forest Grove the rider probably wouldn\’t have crossed into vehicle traffic even in an impared state.

Yes we can try to get more people to wear helmets. Yes we can work to treat people with Meth addiction. This doesn\’t change the fact that the roads in Washington county aren\’t designed well enough for bicycling saftey. This is one of the primary reasons why I moved to Portland.

Mike Perrault
Guest
Mike Perrault

Just because he had amphetamines in his system doesn\’t mean that he was high or that he was using any illegal drugs. Lots of medicines are amphetamine based. I have amphetamines rushing through my blood every day and without them I would be much less safe on the road or able to make reasonable choices.

rex
Guest
rex

Hey Severdia- what is it like to be better then everyone else? Way to generalize there buddy.

Dan (teknotus)
Guest
Dan (teknotus)

I just realized something. If he was heading east he could have been in the lane trying to avoid the right hook at that intesection. People heading into WinCo only slow down enough from the 55MPH between Cornelius, and Hillsboro to make the corner.

Slick
Guest
Slick

Oh yeah… excellent idea! Pull into 55 MPH traffic because they don\’t slow down enough. Even better if you wear dark clothes and no lights. Great advice for all of us to follow!

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

no lights.

The report doesn\’t say he had no lights, nor does it say whether he was required to have lights at that hour.

Jonathon Severdia
Guest
Jonathon Severdia

Hey Rex, way to take cheeky generalizations way too seriously. Am I better than the other people I see biking on TV hwy in that area? No, just cleaner, better educated, wealthier, and unafraid to admit those differences.

Slick
Guest
Slick

Yeah your right Rixter. It would be safe to merge into 55MPH traffic if he had a light on. Great advice either way light or no light.

Jonathon Severdia
Guest
Jonathon Severdia

Oh, and one other difference. I\’m NOT on tweak!