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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).

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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 Comments
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    Crash N. Burns April 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    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.

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    DJ Hurricane April 10, 2008 at 4:10 pm

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

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    Torfinn April 10, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    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.

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    john April 10, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    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.

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    Amy Wolf April 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    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).

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    B Dave April 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm

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

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    drew April 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm

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

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    Donna April 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    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…

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    Opus the Poet April 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    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

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    hanmade April 10, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    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!

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    matchu April 10, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    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.

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    matchu April 10, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    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.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 10, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    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).

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    William V. Osborne April 10, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    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.

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    JayS. April 10, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    \”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.

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    tonyt April 10, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    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.

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    tonyt April 10, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    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.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    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.

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    Kevin Wagoner April 10, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    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.\”

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    bottombracket April 10, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    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.

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    Mark Ginsberg April 10, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    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

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    John Reinhold April 10, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    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.

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    BURR April 10, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    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…

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    Joe April 10, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    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

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    21 speed April 10, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    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.

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    KTesh April 10, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    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

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    Matt Picio April 10, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    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!

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    Daniel (teknotus) Johnson April 11, 2008 at 1:24 am

    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…

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    Matthew April 11, 2008 at 1:28 am

    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.

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    Steven J April 11, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Hopes for a speedy recovery Jess.

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

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    Tom Hastings April 11, 2008 at 6:26 am

    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.

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    davidio April 11, 2008 at 6:28 am

    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)

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    Patti April 11, 2008 at 6:55 am

    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.

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    Mary Sue April 11, 2008 at 7:41 am

    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.

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    Zaphod April 11, 2008 at 8:28 am

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

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    Jeff April 11, 2008 at 8:44 am

    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,

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    Justin Meier April 11, 2008 at 8:59 am

    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

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    Vance April 11, 2008 at 9:37 am

    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.

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    Mike April 11, 2008 at 9:55 am

    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.

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    tonyt April 11, 2008 at 9:58 am

    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.

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    Robert Dobbs April 11, 2008 at 9:58 am

    @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.

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    steve April 11, 2008 at 10:05 am

    \”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)]
    ========

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    bahueh April 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

    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.

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    Torfinn April 11, 2008 at 10:26 am

    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.

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    steve April 11, 2008 at 11:31 am

    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.

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    maxadders April 11, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    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.

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    Shiny Purple April 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    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?

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm

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

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

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    Torfinn April 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Srry Jonathan, I\’m a firebrand.

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    Opus the Poet April 11, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    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.

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    zilfondel April 11, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    ^ those posts are going to make me stop riding my bike.

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    lyle April 12, 2008 at 7:03 am

    \”those posts are going to make me stop riding my bike.\”

    that was my thought, too. i wanted to start commuting by bike next month when the weather is right… and shed the bus pass… but man, you really are stepping into the steel cage.

    i think the single biggest factor is just simply how many people there are out there who are terrible terrible drivers, don\’t have a clue they are, and don\’t have people who can tell them they are (unless they\’re pulled over, or the odd shouted name in their direction).

    it\’s depressing. it really is NOT that hard to obey the rules of the road. all it takes is getting in the car and saying to yourself, I\’m really going to pay attention to my driving and what\’s around me.

    bingo, 90% of accidents solved right there.

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    Brujja April 12, 2008 at 7:12 am

    we should raise awareness… not stop riding bikes.

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    Ed April 12, 2008 at 7:55 am

    these crashes are tragic because they are avoidable

    it does scare me when I read things like this

    but I try to remember the statistic that bicycling gets safer the more of us that do it

    I hope someday people will pay more attention

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    Antonio Gramsci April 12, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    \”I hope someday people will pay more attention.\”

    Hope is not the appropriate tool for this problem, not when we can take concrete ACTIONS that have a proven track record of success. Actions that hold drivers accountable and ensure swift justice for the perps will have an outstanding effect on diminishing the frequency of these kinds of outrages.

    In the short term, in this particular case, all the spontaneous community volunteerism of looking out for the vehicle and its driver is bound to generate some results.

    In the longer term, though, I\’m convinced that a more systematic effort at legislative and policy reforms is needed. Ideally, a grassroots pressure group along the lines of MADD, but focused on dangerous and negligent drivers in general, and not just chemically impaired ones, must be formed.

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    Mark April 12, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    It\’s truly sad how dangerous the roads are for cyclists. Avoiding getting hit has become a daily event for me here in Seattle, and I\’m considered a very safe and defensive cyclist. I shudder to think how many cars have driven at me aggressively with the driver fully aware of my presence. They act like they simply do not have the time to figure our safety into their schedule. I honestly believe most drivers have no clue how close they come to killing cyclists. Homicidal maniacs masquerading as responsible members of society. I really hate how bitter I\’m becoming. I just want to enjoy my commute, rain or shine and stay healthy. Is it really too much to ask?

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    Howard April 13, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I\’m out of town, but I have visited Portland and I have many relatives living there.

    In a society where bad things happen, where police resources and justice cannot right every wrong, it\’s hard not to make the observation that the seriousness of a crime is often judged by the \”notional status\” of both the victim and the perpetrator.

    Victim is a young white woman (higher status) but she has a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend, so she must be … (knocks her status down) and she was on a bicycle. One thing we bicyclists understand is that just getting on a bicycle really lowers us a few notches in the justice system.

    Perpetrator is unknown, but he is apparently a young black man (lower status) driving what sounds like a stereotypical ghetto cruiser gas guzzler (lowers status almost off the charts).

    Less than two months ago, there was a similar hit-and-run crime in Tacoma, but the victim was a straight white woman in her sixties (age lowers status, but straight raises it). The car was a Mercedes (adds lots of status points), driven by an 18 year old white girl (I didn\’t say \”woman\” on purpose, very high status), who got out of the car and pulled the victim off the road, then got back in her car and drove away. Her parents figured out that something was the matter and turned her in. (At least somebody did the right thing!)

    The Tacoma police seem to have taken a much greater interest in a case that obviously was solvable, and ended up being solved. Of course, both victim and perpetrator had higher notional status, which lead to the crime being treated more seriously. But once the case was solved, it seems to have disappeared from consciousness. The name of the \”girl\” who hit older woman was never even published.

    I see the anger and outrage at the young black man who drove away in an old Buick. Some people want to put him away forever. How is he so different from the girl driving her parents\’ Mercedes whose name was not even published? We don\’t even know his age yet. He may be younger than 18.

    As bicyclists, we all share an anger, and a common understanding, that just for getting on a bicycle, we lower our notional status if anything bad should happen to us.

    William Osborne and Amy Wolf, I wish your daughter and friend a full and speedy recovery. May God bless you and your families.

    Howard

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    James Xu April 13, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Here is a hand from China helping you out. Hope you be Okay soon.

    James from China

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    21 speed April 13, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    maxadders in #46 above that said: \”…..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.\”

    Hopefully you and your neighbors have told this to the police – I doubt they\’ll do anything about it but I\’d let them know about it. Maybe they\’ll patrol a little more there……….

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    Howard April 13, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Jonathan,

    I came to see that my earlier post had gone online. I felt like I should offer confirmation for you about the Tacoma hit-and-run incident:

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/296540.html

    I am attempting to revisit the story, and it appears that if they ever did charge the 18-year-old girl who was driving the Mercedes, it was not newsworthy enough for the News Tribune to follow up on the story. So she appears to have avoided the opprobrium of having her name in print.

    I point this out because of the obvious double standards in our society, which values blacks less than whites, older less than younger, poor less than rich, gay and lesbian less than straight, and of course, bicyclists less than motorists.

    Thank you for your commendable journalism. Do you know the outcome of the case in Tacoma?

    Howard

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    SkidMark April 14, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Nobody cares whether the car driver was black or white. It is simply a matter of fact that he happens to be black. Plenty of hit-and-runs have been reported here that had white car or truck drivers and there was just as much outrage. I wonder how many of you waving the race card around actually know or have as friends any people of color? How many of you living in the neighborhoods you are gentrifying actually talk to your neighbors, that ones that aren\’t white?

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 14, 2008 at 7:32 am

    \”. Do you know the outcome of the case in Tacoma?\”

    No. Sorry Howard, I can\’t even keep up with Portland-area bike news, much less other cities. thanks for the link though.

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    Torfinn April 14, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I gotta second skidmark. The white male driving the dump truck was spared no mercy I don\’t think people want the guy in the slammer for his skin tone.

    Actually quite a few people were calling for the dump truck(or was it a garbage truck?) drivers head on a stick despite the fact that he stuck around which this piece of art work didn\’t.

    Honestly, I have to say that the cyclists who ride defensively and obey all the road rules I think are not necessarily as safe as those people consider pests that pass cars on the left and cut red lights to skip ahead of traffic.

    Don\’t quit riding or not start because you\’re afraid of being hit. That\’s like not riding the bus because you\’re afraid of being mugged or not driving because you\’re afraid of a collision.

    The more of us there are on the streets the better.

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    maxadders April 14, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Skidmark, I\’m aware of the gentrification aspect, but I\’m against aggressive drivers regardless of skin color. The fact of the matter is this: young drivers are doing \”sideshow\” type things in the streets near my house, which is also pretty popular for bikes and pedestrians. I\’m not trampling on anyone\’s culture by pointing out that cars doing donuts, burn-outs and running stop signs should be regarded as irresponsible on any public street, by any community\’s standards.

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    SkidMark April 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    max, after reading your comment, I don\’t understand why you think my mini-rant was directed at you.

    As far as doing burnouts and stuff goes, there is nothing more white and American than good old-fashioned hotrodding, even if it is with Hondas. I agree that there is a place and time for that sort of thing, and that it is not on populated public streets. Then again I like fast cars and motorcycles, and I am not afraid of the (supposed) machismo associated with it.

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    Howard April 14, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I did find some further commentary on the Fircrest (Tacoma) hit-and-run case:

    See the entry for April 8, 2008:

    http://blogs.thenewstribune.com/editors/

    It appears that I am not the only one disturbed by the seeming inattention of the police and the justice system in jurisdictions across America to the welfare of bicyclists. Another reader of the Tacoma News-Tribune expressed the same sentiments I have in a letter to their reporters.

    The News-Tribune reporter has responded that the case is under investigation, but no charges have been filed at this time. Such delays may be normal in this kind of case. The young woman is apparently not cooperating with the investigation. That\’s all that is known at this time.

    I hope we will see resolution in both of these cases soon.

    Howard

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    Louise April 15, 2008 at 4:49 am

    The city of Portland its citizens, police, radio and tv and bicycle groups, should consider starting a HIT and RUN alert. Have it posted immediately on the radio/tv stations the day/night it happens. Even with minimal information as my niece Jessica had this past week.
    People are driving crazy no matter what part of the country your in.
    Its a shame when not accepting responsibility seems to be the norm today. Everything has a consequence for the action. One small action could pay it forward.

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    Consuela April 15, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Jessica is a living, breathing, beautiful, intelligent human being with a lot going for her. There are many folks and family members who support her and are in disbelief that the police don\’t give a rats behind that she is even alive. What would have happened if she had been killed? Probably the same level of attention to the case would have been applied. It would have been easier for them. It really doesn\’t matter what color skin this monster who hit her has, what matters is what is inside of him. He has the moral responsiblity to come forward and face what he has done. The fact that he drove off after deciding that she was dead or dying shows that he is not a man but a monster. This is a very disturbing action which says a lot about our society. Hopefully he will become a man and do what is right. This bright, young woman is suffering because of his actions, the police seem to think that she was a \’vulnerable user of the road\’ she should be suffering and there is nothing they can do. Where are the witnesses? What would this monster and the people who are unwilling to come forward as witnesses think or feel if this was someone they knew or were related to? Would this change the situation? What if this happened to them?

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    21 speed April 15, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Haven\’t they caught the person yet? There could not possibly be more than a dozen or so cars in North Portland fitting that description that also have 2 damaged windows.

    I\’m still hopeful they will catch them….

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    William V. Osborne April 17, 2008 at 6:46 am

    This is from my adopted son Kevin who works for the Wisconsin Outagamie County Law Enforcement Agency. He has always been one of Jess\’s big brothers.

    This makes me really question the credibly of this police agency along with the policies and procedures they have set forth. From the officers that I have spoken to this not only was this mishandled, it is unacceptable!

    Regardless if it is a hit and run without serious injury they should have had an immediate response. Since this was a serious life threatening injury they should have started immediately. They know all well that time is of the essence when it comes to locating the suspect(s). What would have happened if this was a homicide by vehicle? (Vehicular homicide) ?? Would they have waited another week?

    I do realize that this is not the only instance that has occurred and a backlog of cases exist. The thing that just irks me is the police department left a large time laps go by. How long do you think someone is going to recall an event, then forget certain details in a short time? It is a very high percentage rate.

    Here are some Wisconsin state statues. Again, sorry for going off but to add to my last two weeks… alas I will stop. Below are some things that I have. If anyone requires or would like more please let me know I have the entire law enforcement access.

    ACCIDENTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS
    346.66 Applicability of sections relating to accidents and accident reporting.
    346.665 Definition.
    346.67 Duty upon striking person or attended or occupied vehicle.
    346.675 Vehicle owner’s liability for failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
    346.68 Duty upon striking unattended vehicle.
    346.69 Duty upon striking property on or adjacent to highway.
    346.70 Duty to report accident.
    346.71 Coroners or medical examiners to report; require blood specimen.
    346.72 Garages to keep record of repairs of accident damage.
    346.73 Accident reports not to be used in trial.
    346.74 Penalty for violating sections 346.67 to 346.73.

    346.67 Duty upon striking person or attended or occupied
    vehicle. (1) The operator of any vehicle involved in an
    accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or in damage
    to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately
    stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close
    thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every
    event shall remain at the scene of the accident until the operator
    has fulfilled the following requirements:
    (a) The operator shall give his or her name, address and the registration
    number of the vehicle he or she is driving to the person
    struck or to the operator or occupant of or person attending any
    vehicle collided with; and
    (b) The operator shall, upon request and if available, exhibit
    his or her operator’s license to the person struck or to the operator
    or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with; and
    (c) The operator shall render to any person injured in such accident
    reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making
    of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician,
    surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent
    that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested
    by the injured person.
    (2) Any stop required under sub. (1) shall be made without
    obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
    History: 1991 a. 316; 1997 a. 258.
    Violation of this section is a felony. State ex rel. McDonald v. Douglas Cty. Cir.
    Ct. 100 Wis. 2d 569, 302 N.W.2d 462 (1981).
    Elements of the duty under this section are discussed. State v. Lloyd, 104 Wis. 2d
    49, 310 N.W.2d 617 (Ct. App. 1981).
    Failure to stop and render aid to multiple victims of a single accident may result
    in multiple charges without multiplicity defects arising. State v. Hartnek, 146 Wis.
    2d 188, 430 N.W.2d 361 (Ct. App. 1988).
    A “person injured” in sub. (1) (c) includes a person who is fatally injured. A subsequent
    determination of instantaneous death does not absolve a person of the duty to
    investigate whether assistance is possible. State v. Swatek, 178 Wis. 2d 1, 502
    N.W.2d 909 (Ct. App. 1993).
    “Accident” in sub. (1) means an unexpected, undesirable event and may encompass
    intentional conduct. By including intentional conduct within the definition, the
    reporting requirements do not infringe on the 5th amendment privilege against self−
    incrimination. State v. Harmon, 2006 WI App 214, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W. 2d

    346.675 Vehicle owner’s liability for failing to stop at
    the scene of an accident. (1) Subject to s. 346.01 (2),
    the owner of a vehicle operated in the commission of a violation of s.
    346.67 (1), 346.68, or 346.69 shall be liable for the violation as
    provided in this section.
    (2) Any person who observes a violation of s. 346.67 (1),
    346.68, or 346.69 may, within 24 hours after observing the violation,
    report the violation to a traffic officer of the county or municipality
    in which the violation occurred. If possible, the report shall
    contain the following information:
    (a) A description of the violation alleged.
    (b) The time and the approximate location at which the violation
    occurred.
    (c) The vehicle registration number and color of all vehicles
    involved in the violation.
    (d) Identification of each vehicle involved in the violation as
    an automobile, station wagon, motor truck, motor bus, motorcycle,
    or other type of vehicle.
    (e) If the violation included damage to property other than a
    vehicle, a description of such property.
    (3) (a) Within 72 hours after receiving a report containing all
    of the information in sub. (2), the traffic officer may investigate
    the violation and, after verifying the information provided under
    sub. (2) (c) to (e) and determining that there is probable cause to
    believe that a violation of s. 346.67 (1), 346.68, or 346.69 has
    occurred, may prepare a uniform traffic citation under s. 345.11
    and personally serve it upon the owner of the vehicle being operated
    in the commission of the violation of s. 346.67 (1), 346.68,
    or 346.69.
    (b) If with reasonable diligence the owner specified in par. (a)
    cannot be served under par. (a), service may be made by leaving
    a copy of the citation at the owner’s usual place of abode within
    this state in the presence of a competent member of the family at
    least 14 years of age, who shall be informed of the contents
    thereof.
    (c) If with reasonable diligence the owner specified in par. (a)
    cannot be served under par. (a) or (b) or if the owner specified in
    par. (a) lives outside of the jurisdiction of the issuing authority,
    service may be made by certified mail addressed to the owner’s
    last−known address.
    (4) (a) Except as provided in par. (b), it shall be no defense to
    a violation of this section that the owner was not operating the
    vehicle at the time of the violation.
    (b) The following are defenses to a violation of this section:
    1. That a report that the vehicle was stolen was given to a traffic
    officer before the violation occurred or within a reasonable
    time after the violation occurred.
    2. If the owner of the vehicle, including a lessee specified in
    subd. 3., or a person on a trial run specified in subd. 4. provides
    a traffic officer with the name and address of the person operating
    the vehicle at the time of the violation and sufficient information
    for the officer to determine that probable cause does not exist to
    believe that the owner of the vehicle was operating the vehicle at
    the time of the violation, then the person operating the vehicle
    shall be charged under s. 346.67 (1), 346.68, or 346.69 and the
    owner, including a lessee, or person on a trial run shall not be
    charged under this section.
    3. Subject to subd. 2., if the vehicle is owned by a lessor of
    vehicles and at the time of the violation the vehicle was in the possession
    of a lessee, and the lessor provides a traffic officer with the
    information required under s. 343.46 (3), then the lessee and not
    the lessor shall be charged under this section.
    4. Subject to subd. 2., if the vehicle is owned by a dealer as
    defined in s. 340.01 (11) (intro.) but including the persons specified
    in s. 340.01 (11) (a) to (d), and at the time of the violation the
    vehicle was being operated by any person on a trial run, and if the
    dealer provides a traffic officer with the name, address, and operator’s
    license number of the person authorized to operate the
    vehicle on the trial run, then this person, and not the dealer, shall
    be charged under this section.

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    tonyt April 17, 2008 at 11:17 am

    William, I don\’t think anyone here begrudges your right to go off here. You are more than entitled.

    And most of us are definitely aware of how often the police drop the ball on this sort of thing. Amazing how they have the manpower to dedicate 9 motorcycles to what is ostensibly a bike/stop sign sting, but can\’t get it together to respond to something like this in a timely manner.

    Not saying that there isn\’t a place for enforcement, but please, priorities.

    Please give Jess our best. She\’s in our thoughts.

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    Zaphod April 17, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    In terms of catching the guy, Matthew #29 has the logic right and Daniel #28 has a good plan. The guy likely goes to a *convenience* store because it is convenient to his home, work, or other place he frequents. The time of day implies coming home from work. Given this is not yet solved (unless that\’s not being posted here).

    In five minutes I plugged in \”convenience store 97217\” into maps.google.com and got hits. If we assume there is nothing unusual to cause a person to pick it over others, the search radius is rather tight. Yes I could be way off but and I don\’t claim anything beyond a layman\’s reasonable approach but wouldn\’t take long to spin through it with a small group. It couldn\’t hurt.

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    Kevin April 17, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I would like to express that my (said) views are my views and mine alone; they have nothing to do with the law enforcement agency, O.C. Wisconsin. This has no bearing on thoughts, policies and procedures of said agency.

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    ChipSeal April 18, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Are hit and runs not felonies in Portland? 7,800 felonies a year? Only three guys to investigate? Pull some officers off of stop sign scofflaw duty!

    \”As far as doing burnouts and stuff goes…\” It means gasoline is not really that expensive yet.

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    Aunt Marge April 18, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Hey Jess!

    Don\’t like the picture (too scarey)!

    Behave yourself and do what the doctors tell you to do. Who needs a spleen anyway?!?

    You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

    Love you!

    Aunt Marge

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    Cousin Emily April 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Hey Jess! I miss you!

    Look at all of this attention you are getting, miss! You have so much love and support being sent your way from everyone and anyone! You\’ve been on my mind and in my prayers everyday and hope you are feeling a bit of all of these blessings. If I\’ve learned anything about you – its that you can deal with and fight through anything. This is only a challenge for you so you can prove to everyone what you\’re really made of… =]

    Good luck and lots of love from back here in Wisconsin. We miss and love you and I can\’t wait to see you this summer. Hope to hear from you soon!

    Lots of love

    Your cousin, Emily

    =]

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    I Invest June 2, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Mr. Osbourne:

    I\’m sorry to say that this is Oregon, not Wisconsin, and only Oregon laws apply here…as much as some of us would like that to be changed.

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