Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 10th, 2008 at 3:43 pm
the ICU the night of the crash (4/3).
(Photo: Amy Wolf)
Last Thursday, 28 year-old Northeast Portland resident Jessica Osborne was riding her bike to the store when she was struck by a car. The driver paused briefly, then left her for dead on the pavement.
The impact ruptured Osborne’s spleen, cracked three vertebrae, collapsed two of her lungs, and left her with scrapes and bruises all over her body.
The driver is still at large and police have no leads in the case (see bottom of article for details about the suspect).
The collision happened on N. Rosa Parks Way, just east of N. Albina Street at about 5:30pm. Osborne was traveling westbound on Rosa Parks Way and the motor vehicle operator was headed east. Osborne was hit when the driver turned his car left into the driveway of the Civic Mart convenience store located at the NE corner of Rosa Parks and Albina.
(Google Map here)
After the crash, Osborne was taken via ambulance to Legacy Emanuel hospital where she was admitted to the ICU. At one point, according to her girlfriend Amy Wolf, doctors considered removing her spleen.
Fortunately, after a week in the hospital, Osborne is expected to make a full physical recovery (she was discharged from the hospital today).
As Osborne and Wolf try to piece their lives back together, they are frustrated — not just with the driver who couldn’t be bothered to stop for a person they nearly killed, but with the Portland Police Bureau.
Wolf is frustrated by what she perceives as a lack of priority given to Osborne’s case. She claims it was not even assigned to an officer until yesterday (six days after the crash).
In a phone conversation today, she said,
“I can’t believe they would wait an entire week before really working on this case. I would think that when someone is critically injured like this, that it would be a priority to find the person that just drove away…and it seems to me like it’s not even a priority to them [the Police Bureau].”
Wolf is worried that crucial time to find witnesses and clues that could lead to a suspect might be lost.
However, according to Traffic Division Sergeant Todd Davis (the man in charge of assigning hit-and-run investigations), given the typical work-flow of a hit-and-run investigation, they’ve actually done “quite a bit” on this case.
Davis says on an average week he processes about 150 hit-and-run cases. To get through them all he does “triage”, prioritizing them based on dollar amount of the damages incurred, the extent of injuries sustained, and most importantly, the “solvability” of the case. (At the Traffic Division there are three full-time investigators who work on hit-and-runs and fatal collisions.)
In the case of Jessica Osborne, Sgt. Davis said he remembers setting it aside because there was very little evidence. “The solvability factor on this one,” he said, “was very low.”
Usually Sgt. Davis would have not even assigned a case like this, but he did so because he realized the victim was a ‘vulnerable roadway user’.
Sgt. Davis explained that since the collision happened on a Thursday (4/3) and he wasn’t back in his office until Monday (4/7), the case did not get started until Tuesday (4/8).
Since that time, he says Officer Chris Johnson (who was off on Monday) has been active on the case. He has recalled all the witnesses (there are two) to learn more about the vehicle, he has visited a nearby convenience store to check for security video (there was none), he has examined the bike at the fire station, and he has contacted the Bureau’s Public Information Officer to begin the media alert process (you’ll likely see this in the news tomorrow).
So far, the only information they have to go on is that the car is a grey 1990s Buick (sedan or 2-door) with a shattered windshield, and plastic on the front passenger window. The driver is reportedly a 16-20 year-old black male.
“Short of that,” says Sgt. Davis, “without a license plate we’re really stuck.”
If you saw this crash, or know any details at all, please contact Officer Chris Johnson at (503) 823-2213 (refer to case # 0831688).