Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 28th, 2009 at 11:38 am
“All I know is that she was distracted. She didn’t see him somehow, that’s all we’re being told.”
— Keith Miles, Kristopher Miles’ grandfather
14-year boy Kristopher Miles clings to life this morning in a Portland trauma center, one week after 28-year old Andrea Dickinson ran him over with her SUV while he rode home in a marked crosswalk just two blocks from his middle school in Vancouver.
According to a story filed last night by The Columbian, Miles underwent surgery yesterday to relieve swelling on his brain and “the outlook remained grim.” The boy has been in a drug-induced coma since the crash and he has severe brain injuries, a broken femur, a punctured lung and a broken rib.
I left a voice message with a Vancouver Police Officer a few days ago to learn more about the crash. The initial statement from the Vancouver PD pointed out that Dickinson came to a complete stop on the opposite side of the intersection before colliding with Miles. She also dragged him under her car up to 100 feet before coming to a stop (map of intersection here).
Yesterday I received a phone call from Kristopher’s grandfather, Keith Miles. Mr. Miles has been thrust into the role of spokesperson for their family. Not surprisingly, he had a lot of feelings to get off his chest, and I offered a willing ear.
Mr. Miles said the Police are still investigating the collision and that they have chosen to not cite Dickinson at this time because they want to complete the investigation before doing so (this is a common practice for police in this situation. If they were to issue a traffic citation, it might make it more difficult to bring more severe charges — such as careless driving — at a later time.)
“All I know,” said Mr. Miles, “is that she was distracted. She didn’t see him somehow, that’s all we’re being told.”
Miles said the Vancouver PD has done speed tests that show Dickinson was traveling 20 mph at the point of impact. Now they’re looking into why she didn’t stop after she hit him. Miles explained that she just panicked. “They’re telling me she went into panic mode and that she hit the gas instead of the brake…there were no skidmarks at all,” he explained.
Mr. Miles said he confronted Dickinson at the scene of the crash and said “she’s had a complete meltdown.” Miles described her as being so “absolutely devastated” by the crash that she could hardly speak.
Clearly angered by what Dickinson has done, Miles said he doesn’t want to point fingers.
“Am I mad at her? Absolutely. Do I hate her? Absolutely. Do I want to reach through the phone and shake her? Absolutely. He was wearing a bright red sweatshirt and a bright red backpack…. when you hit something why do you not stop!?”
But despite these angry feelings, Miles said he’s spoken with Dickinson’ mother several times and that their family, “seems to be very caring and very concerned.” Throughout our conversation he expressed empathy with what the Dickinson family was going through.
As for the investigation, Miles confirmed that her car has been impounded and Officers have determined it was not faulty. He explained that the Vancouver PD is waiting for all their investigations to be complete before they evaluate them and make a determination as to whether or not she should face criminal charges.
In all reports so far about the crash it has been clearly stated that Kristopher was not wearing a helmet when he was hit. Mr. Miles says the cops have told him that “a helmet wouldn’t have done him a bit of good, given how much force and trauma occurred.” Dickinson’s SUV hit the boy on the side of the head, explained Mr. Miles, and helmets are most effective for top-of-the-head impacts.
As Kristopher Miles fights for his life, his family and community are coming to his side. A website has been set up with donation information and a guestbook full of well-wishes from classmates and friends.
Despite legal questions and discussions about fault and bike safety, in the end we all lose. “It’s a no-win situation for my family,” expressed Mr. Miles, “and it’s a no-win situation for her family. I might lose my grandson and she’ll (Amanda Dickinson) carry this guilt around with her forever.”