Support BikePortland

Hit-and-run leads to critical injuries, frustration

Posted by on April 10th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Hit-and-run victim Jessica Osborne in
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.

Green arrow shows location of collision.
(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).

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

77
Leave a Reply

avatar
77 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
54 Comment authors
I InvestCousin EmilyAunt MargeChipSealKevin Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Crash N. Burns
Guest
Crash N. Burns

When I was hit two years ago I posted fliers all around the intersection where it happened. I did have two witnesses contact me… not with specifically valuable info in my case, but I would recommend doing the same around the site of this hit and run.

Good luck and get well Jessica.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

Fu*king unbelievable. I hope they put this bastard in jail for the rest of his pathetic life.

Torfinn
Guest
Torfinn

Glad she\’s ok, hope they catch the bastard.

I also hope they put him in prison.

At the sensabilities of the more sensitive readers, I hope nothing happens to him in prison.

john
Guest
john

Another example showing that if you really want to take someone out in public and get away with it, do it with your combustion powered vehicle. Any number of excuses will work (granted, intoxication excluded); you\’ll get society\’s indifference, forgiveness, or probably even sympathy for having to go through the trauma of having maimed or killed someone.

Amy Wolf
Guest
Amy Wolf

Just a small clarification. Jess was actually headed west on Rosa Parks and the car was headed east. She was hit by the car when it was tuning into the convenience store (on the north side of rosa parks), not the auto repair shop (which is on the south side).

B Dave
Guest
B Dave

Thank you for covering this Jonathan. I hope someone has the conscience to turn the driver in. Get well soon, Jess!

drew
Guest
drew

I agree with DJ Hurricane. Total BS. NOPO Cops are pathetic.

Donna
Guest
Donna

Wow, just one police officer handling 150 hit-and-run cases per week? No wonder very few get solved. Geez, someone give the guy some help…

Opus the Poet
Guest

No worse than TX cops. At least the physical evidence wasn\’t discarded like it was in my wreck.Get well quick Jessica. And I hope something does happen to the perp in prison, like a cluebat. (cluebat n fictious weapon that grants enlightenment when forcefully applied to the forehead of the unenlightened)

Opus

hanmade
Guest
hanmade

It is unfortunate that this story did not make BikePortland earlier, because it would have brought this to the public sooner and helped spread the word to find more witnesses and the perhaps the perpetrator.
Best wishes, Jessica!

matchu
Guest
matchu

Perhaps the vehicle was stolen, he didn\’t have liability insurance, or some other reason he felt it was imperative to leave the scene rather than hang around. In no one does this justify one bit what happened.

I do hope they find the person responsible quickly. I\’m just trying to reason why he fled the scene rather than offer basic care and immediate support for Osbourne.

matchu
Guest
matchu

edit: fixed grammatical errors

Perhaps the vehicle was stolen, he didn\’t have liability insurance, or there was some other reason why he felt it was imperative to leave the scene rather than stick around. In no way does this justify what happened one bit, I\’m just trying to think of possibilities why the suspect fled rather than offered basic care and immediate support for Osbourne. I do hope they find the person responsible quickly.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

Donna said:
\”Wow, just one police officer handling 150 hit-and-run cases per week? No wonder very few get solved.\”

Just to be clear, there have three full-time investigators at the Traffic Division… one officer is in charge of assigning all the cases.

As for solving them… of the ones they assign, nearly all of them get solved (of course they usually only assign cases that have a high probability of getting solved, but still, it\’s a high percentage).

William V. Osborne
Guest
William V. Osborne

My name is Bill Osborne, and I am Jessica\’s father. I arrived in Portland last weekend while my daughter was still in intensive care. On Monday, when I was finally able to see past the critical nature of the event after Jess\’ condition had stabilized, I began calling the Portland Police Traffic Division to try and figure out what was being done to apprehend the individual who almost took my daughter from me. I called at least twice a day. Karen, the woman who answered the phone repeatedly told me that she had no information whatsoever on the accident. She eventually had to go to the computer to retrieve the report because it had never been sent down. I am shocked that such a purportedly bike friendly city would not at least begin investigation on a hit and run with injury immediately, as they are inherently time-sensitive. If the city government and police department do not take such crimes seriously, drivers who do not respect the rights of bikers will continue to operate under what is in effect impunity. The Traffic Department should create a partnership with the city\’s bike action groups for assistance in the response in these important and often tragic crimes. A volunteer bike action network could do a lot of the foot- or pedal-work, as it were, of canvassing the neighborhoods for the car, posting flyers, and garnering witnesses. The city and its denizens, especially its drivers must know that these crimes will be seriously investigated and resolved, and will not be ignored until it is too late to get the evidence or resolution. Portland is a beautiful city and needs to be safe for all members of its community, including and especially its bikers.

JayS.
Guest
JayS.

\”grey 1990s Buick (sedan or 2-door) with a shattered windshield, and plastic on the front passenger window.\” Sounds like this car would stick out like a soar thumb. Even more than a blue hummer. I\’ll keep my eyes open. If I see it I\’ll get a plate number and call it in.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

I doubt that someone driving a stolen car is going to be rolling it into a detailing shop.

Really, the focus on this case should be the shop.

I live in the neighborhood, a mere three blocks from there, and that shop is a small, neighborhood, everyone greeting everyone kind of place. Someone there knows who it was, or knows someone who knows them.

I will be looking for that car.

And yeah, not enough officers for the number of cases. Welcome to small government. It sounds so good when you\’re healthy.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

And yeah, I hate to agree with John #4, but really, if I ever wanted to kill someone and get away with it, I\’d do it with a car. Oops.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

Amy,

Thanks for that clarification. I have edited the story and I regret the initial error.

Please keep us posted on Jessica\’s condition and on any developments in this case. Best wishes.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest

That is lame statistic. How many of those resulted in a near death?

\”Davis says on an average week he processes about 150 hit-and-run cases.\”

bottombracket
Guest
bottombracket

I don\’t know if this is the same car, but a couple of days ago (Monday I think) I was biking home from class and saw a dark colored car (I can\’t remember if it was gray or black) recklessly trying to make a u-turn in the middle of the block. I came upon it in the middle of the turn and stopped for fear of getting hit, but as they drove away from me, I saw that the driver\’s side of the windshield was completely smashed up and thought this guy was completely insane for driving it in this condition–not to mention wondering how it got to be smashed in the first placed. I\’m not sure what the exact make of the car was, but it definitely had that early 90\’s Lesabre boxy look to it. The passanger\’s window did not have plastic on it, but the window was either rolled all the way down or missing. Not throwing stereotypes out, but it was also driven by a younger black male. This occurred on Going Street in between Williams and Cleveland, so if anyone lives in the area, you might keep your eyes peeled. Hopefully there will be some justice brought about for this tragedy. My heart goes out to Jessica and here family.

Mark Ginsberg
Guest
Mark Ginsberg

To Jessica and/or Amy or her dad,
contact an attorney as soon as possible, there are many of us in Portland who focus on helping cyclists when they are hit. I have some ideas that I am happy to share offline, markjginsberg@yahoo.com

Mark

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

The Portland Police Bureau is notoriously the least \”bike friendly\” part of Portland. Although there has been some movement on that front as of late.

I hope Jessica recovers and justice is served.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I\’d like to know how many of those 150 hit and runs the PPB claims to \’work on\’ each week include injuries as severe as Jessica\’s? I\’m guessing most of them are property damage only…

Joe
Guest
Joe

wow get well soon! I\’m not in Portland at this time, but i know Wilsonville is getting bad as far as car traffic thinking
they can over take anything in its path.

* Other morning after working Grave shift
had a city truck try and pull the famous
right hander on me while on the cell ph *

Hit and Runs just make me upset bottom line.

take care all
Joe

21 speed
Guest
21 speed

Says it collapsed 2 of her lungs in the article above. How many does she have?

Glad to hear she is getting better. There is considerable evidence in this case: the damaged car. If the collision broke the windshield and if they witnesses saw a previously broken passenger window that will narrow the field WAAAAAAAAY down.

There is no excuse not to have a suspect in custody soon.

KTesh
Guest
KTesh

It seems that it wouldn\’t be to hard to track down cars with broken windshields… Perhaps some kind of APB should go out to all Insurance and Auto Glass companies… You get a car that matches the description, the owner/operatior gets a visit from the boys in blue.

Jessica, I hope you are feeling better, and up and around again soon.

Get Well Soon!
K\’Tesh

Matt Picio
Guest

I swear I also remember seeing a dark car with the windshield all smashed up, a few blocks east of MLK south of Prescott. Sunday, maybe?

Jessica, get well soon!

Daniel (teknotus) Johnson
Guest
Daniel (teknotus) Johnson

We could organize a ride that splits up, and does a grid pattern through the neighborhood looking for cars with that description. Of course they might have it parked in a garage…

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

The driver was going to a convenience store at 5:30pm, probably on their way home from work. It is possible that the person got off the freeway to go to the store there, but it is unlikely that they would have given up their place in line in traffic at that hour. So either the person works near there, or lives near there, since other than the freeway, that isn\’t really on a route that a car would take if they were going a long distance. The police department may claim to not have the resources to do a block by block search for cars that match that description in that local area, but we certainly do. One easy thing to do would be to simply stand on that street corner from 5 to 6 and see if the car goes by…

I will have to give the police department some credit though. Last week a driver hit a motorcycle cop in the middle of the night, (minor injuries to the cop,) and the police department didn\’t issue a ticket in that case, even though the news article I read about it seemed to indicate that it was indeed the driver\’s fault.

Steven J
Guest
Steven J

Hopes for a speedy recovery Jess.

yep. people are creatures of habit, hanging out near that store would more than likely get results/leads.

Tom Hastings
Guest
Tom Hastings

This really does seem to scream \”solvable,\” so I wonder what the po-po glitch is. This is my general neighborhood too and I\’m certainly going to be on the watch. Either I\’ve not been paying close attention (life is too busy in Bush\’s hyperharming America) or this story took an unfortunately long time to rise to this level of community involvement.

Jessica, we at Whitefeather Peace Community send you our love and healing hopes.

You deserved normal consideration and you got none. Drivers like this are murderous and need to be kept sequestered from vulnerable people while getting rehabilitation.

davidio
Guest
davidio

I ride near that store every single day – I\’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that car, Jessica! Best of luck in your recovery; it sounds like you have some great support in your life to help you out.

Signed,
another rider once on the wrong side of a hit-and-run (Williams and Jessup, this past December)

Patti
Guest

To Jessica..I am so sorry you are going through this ordeal. Please try not to become embittered over these circumstances. You would be well within your rights to do so, of course..but I am hopeful that your recovery is 100% (and that your full recovery includes a full emotional recovery too..the slow response from law enforcement has to be upsetting!)

To Jonathan, thank you so much for writing this article. I am always so impressed with how you provide clear facts without hoopla. Thanks for raising awareness about this and other circumstances where bicyclists are treated unfairly.

Mary Sue
Guest

JayS#15 –
Sounds like this car would stick out like a s[ore] thumb.

You\’d be surprised how many grey Buicks there are in this city. Matter of fact, it sounds just like my car (except for the missing window), except on that day at that time my car was peacfully sleeping in SE PDX.

Zaphod
Guest

Get well soon Jessica! I\’ll keep an eye out.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Accidents can happen to anyone anytime, nobody wants it to happen to anybody. But sharing the road with cars has some risk. As cyclist we should do all we can to prevent conflicts & injuries involving bicycles & cars. Lights and helmets are so important in protraying cycling as a safe alternative to using a car to get around. Shift is offering $10 bike helmets at City Repairs Earthday Celebration at Overlook Park Saturday April 19. Want your friend to wear a helmet? Bring em\’ to the event. We also need volunteers to help fit helmets, lunch included!. Sign up by Email Ytamer@aol.com or call 503-774-5659
Good Luck Jessica,

Justin Meier
Guest

I really wish this had been been posted yesterday. The Piedmont Neighborhood Association met w/ the North Portland PPB commander and her lieutenants last night. I have posted on the Piedmont blog (linking back to you) so hopefully someone will come forward.

http://blog.piedmontneighborhood.com/2008/04/hit-and-run-did-anyone-see-it.html

Vance
Guest
Vance

I have been the victim of three hit-and-run accidents of a similar scope. In two cases, my injuries were much more severe, the third about as bad as this. I was denied justice because at the time being on a bicycle left me outside the policy structure of the usual investigative bodies. That is to say, because I was not in a car when I was hit, my case was not, \”elligible\”, to be investigated by the Traffic Division. In those days, not that long ago, civil court was a cyclists\’ only recourse. You folks look at this incident and are outraged by the way a cyclist is being treated. When the reality is that the system has made many, many improvements to itself; and the fact Ms. Osborne is even allowed to fill out a report is major progress.

Also I wanted to point out that the circumstances of each of the 150 hit-and-runs the Traffic division says they investigate each week involve people too. For all any of you know, there are 150 terrified fathers of injured daughters, who are entitled to justice as well. I read some of the comments and wonder what makes any one person entitled to service from the police, that every one else is not? I think it is unfair to assume that all of the other 150 hit-and-run accidents that occurred this particular week deserve less than the full attention of the people charged with providing justice. Maybe we could feel really, really, bad for 151 people, instead of just 1, eh?

It\’s quite possible that the system you all are criticizing is just fine. It is quite possible that it is inherently impossible to prevent such things. It is further just as possible that one can receive even more terrible injuries than this, while operating a car, and being the victim of a hit-and-run. Ms. Osborne should be getting help regardless of what mode of transportation she uses. The same should be true for all people, and all legal means of conveyance.

On a side note. It\’s bad enough that the police profile in such a manner; but Mr. Maus I expect better from you. The perpetrator\’s ethnic, or racial background is completely irrelevant here, especially where there was such a distinctive, and identifiable automobile involved; and the witness is thankfully okay and capable of identifying a suspect. The time of day, the physical location, a description of a car, I mean there is a ton of info on this without bringing up the perps\’ racial uniform. Besides, how about, dark hair, dark eyes, yay-tall, and _____lbs., etc., etc., in the future? Why ya gotta be all, \”black\”, about it? Pretty disclaimers not-withstanding of course. You certainly rate the benefit of the doubt in my book, perhaps this is emotional for you.

Get well Ms. Osborne. You\’re \’core now young lady, and I can\’t wait to hear about your first day back in the saddle! Now, I\’m going over to the NoJustice center to see if I can be utilized as volunteer in any way. Hopefully I won\’t be the only one.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Vance-
Noting that the driver is black is not profiling. It is a statement of fact. Jonathan did not say \”probably black\”. Also- it is hard to get much more than that when they are sitting in a car.

All-
Remember that even if they do find the car, no one can prove that the owner was driving, or that anyone was driving. They only have found a car that may -or may not- have physical evidence to support that it was used in the crime. May I remind you of the woman who hit and killed the gentleman on 82nd last summer. Her friend, who was in the car, even testified against her. Remember the outcome?
Fact of the matter is, even if they do find the driver, no one can \”prove\” it, and nothing will be accomplished.
Not trying to be negative, just realistic.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Vance,

This isn\’t profiling. Were not talking about pulling random people over for a crime that has not even been committed based upon the color of their skin. The guy is the alleged perpetrator of a crime. He is black. It is far from an irrelevant bit of information.

So saying dark hair and dark eyes would be okay, but Jonathan can\’t fill in the skin tone part of the equation without it being implied that he\’s somehow racist?

Back when we were dealing with James, the guy who was harassing women on their bikes, was it improper to arm women with information which included the fact that the guy was white?

PC insanity.

Robert Dobbs
Guest
Robert Dobbs

@37

Vance,

The driver was black. Period.
Blacks are in the minority in Portland. Period.

This narrows the field considerably, and is very relevant information.

steve
Guest

\”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.\”

I think it may be telling which category is at the top of the list here. \’Dollar amount of the damages\’. Is it possible that they simply automatically assign cases with big ticket insurance payouts at stake?

I suppose that would make sense in a sick sort of way. If you had to look through 150 reports, the one with 80 grand in damages will probably have more people bearing down on you than an accident totaling a few hundred for a new bike. Her hospital fees would not be included in the first report.

The cop in question certainly sounds as if he is trying to cover his ass. His words do not sound completely truthful to me.

Vance,

As one of the resident freaks, I feel I can safely say that you are a *****

========
[NOTE: Please refrain from personal insults. Thanks — Jonathan (Editor)]
========

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

oh good, look, Vance is back…
great…time for me to go somewhere else..

there are not 150 grieving fathers in Oregon every single week, trust me.
most hit and runs involve car on car collision…
time to head back to the cave.

Torfinn
Guest
Torfinn

Vance you are a ****.

========
[NOTE: Torfinn (and others) — please refrain from directing personal insults to other commenters. Thanks — Jonathan]
========

Description of the person is entirely necessary for finding the guy that did it, not just the car and skin tone just like any police APB is part of the descrip just like height, hair color etc.

People of course are still angry and want better service for this girl, and that anger and frustration will hopefully turn into better service for all of us.

If noone had gotten things to be better than when you got hit, it\’d still be the same now.

Now isn\’t good enough! We\’re not settling for better than what you got. Sorry you got the shaft, but that doesn\’t mean everyone after you has to have the same.

steve
Guest

For anyone tempted to think of Jonathan as a censor, please think again. The fact that he will leave Vance\’s post up, while only removing the word \’tool\’ from mine, shows he is in no way holding back ideas or discourse.

I thought I was being careful by avoiding the many other things I wanted to say to Vance. I will try harder.

maxadders
Guest
maxadders

I\’m tired of aggressive drivers in N / NE. The four-way stop in front of my house–which also happens to be an official bike route– is blown by three out of four drivers, from what I\’ve seen. Many of these people are using our residential street to cut through to get to a certain convenience store (not the one in this article). While it\’s an important fixture for the community that surrounds it, its social nature attracts a lot of people acting like jackasses. We\’ve got litter and chicken bones all up and down our sidewalks, double-parked cars and blocked driveways around the entrance, young kids \”cruising\” in their flashy cars and displaying a good deal of macho posturing and disrespect behind the wheel. Looking cool and making the scene in front of the C-store is the order of the day, and it\’s only a matter of time before someone trying to impress his friends ends up killing someone.

Shiny Purple
Guest
Shiny Purple

Does the victim work at New Seasons? She looks very familiar… If so, she\’s very nice, enthusiastic and personable.

Either way, the hit-and-run concept consistently frustrates me. Why are people so systematically unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions?

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”Does the victim work at New Seasons?\”

Yes. the Arbor Lodge store… just a few blocks from the collision.

Torfinn
Guest
Torfinn

Srry Jonathan, I\’m a firebrand.

Opus the Poet
Guest

I never recovered from my hit-and-run. Sure I can ride a bike and post to blogs, including my own, but between the brain damage and all the ortho damage I haven\’t been able to hold a job since the wreck. The worst part about it was the brain damage, since it has to be pretty bad to show up in the ER which was the last place they checked for it, so I have no way to prove I have brain damage. Tell Jessica to make sure she gets tested for about 2 years after the wreck to catch any brain damage, otherwise she won\’t be able to get compensated for all her injuries.