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Lovejoy crash victim says she’s “miraculously fine” (updated)

Posted by on March 4th, 2009 at 10:05 am

An “insane accident” says the victim.
(Photo: Marion Rice)

The victim of the crash at NW Lovejoy and 9th yesterday morning, left a comment last night saying she has been discharged from the hospital and has suffered no major injuries. The woman’s name is Asha and she’s a student at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

(PNCA, you might recall, was the school of both Brett Jarolimek and Tracey Sparling, both of whom lost their lives in October from right-hook crashes.)

From witness accounts and police statements on the scene, we had feared much worse, so this is welcome news.

Story continues below

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“I had no idea what was up with him but I could not for the life of me figure out why he would not have stopped when he hit me.”

Here is Asha’s comment (emphasis mine):

“Hello, I am the woman who was the victim of this insane accident.

First of all, thank you all for your kind remarks and wishes of fast recovery, I really appreciate it. I am miraculously fine. I spent last night at the hospital but I am now at home with no broken bones, just a broken tooth, some stitches on my lip, and a scraped up face and leg, which I can’t put too much weight on. I believe my helmet saved my life. It was an insane and traumatic experience but it could have been so much worse.

It is interesting to hear about the driver, I had no idea what was up with him but I could not for the life of me figure out why he would not have stopped when he hit me, why he continued to drive on top of me. His condition makes this a lot clearer for me. I just pray that he has insurance and that I don’t have to deal financially with the mistakes of some idiot drunk.

Lisa: Thank you so much for being there and holding my head steady, I felt so well protected and taken care of as soon as the accident happened. I really appreciate your love for a perfect stranger. [Read Lisa’s comment here.]

I want to mention that I go to PNCA, which is the community that Brett and Tracey were a part of when they had their bike accidents last year. Thank god I am still here to tell my story.”

Asha’s partner Darshan also left a comment. He was happy to learn about the “take the lane” method that many commenters said would have helped Asha stay safe in this situation.

Darshan also wants to find Asha’s bike. “From the photo,” he wrote, “it looks like it might actually be salvageable…”


UPDATE: Here’s more info about how to recover a bike in this situation (thanks to Officer Robert Pickett):

— He should call the property/evidence division at 503-823-2179, tell them her name and what happened and that she is interested in having the bike back. Hopefully they will have it listed under her name.
— If it was seized as evidence, he will not be able to have it back until after prosecution is over.
— If it was simply taken as safekeeping, he should be able to get it back immediately.
— It is possible that the paperwork has not completely made its way around yet–if the property room doesn’t have her on record, he should call back again in a day or two.

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

35 Comments
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    patrickz March 4, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Welcome news, indeed. Thank you Jonathan for the update. What a relief. Happy recovery, Asha

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    A-dub March 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Ditto

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    david March 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Well that’s great news! And I hope they can find her bike.

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    Matt Haughey March 4, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Great to hear she’s alright. If the bike is messed up, I bet we could take up a collection to repair or help replace (I’d happily toss in $100).

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    Zaphod March 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Hooray!!!

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    Burk March 4, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Wow, very glad to hear your o.k.!

    Go buy a lottery ticket immediately!

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    bahueh March 4, 2009 at 10:17 am

    That’s always good news, but what is up with the dark cloud hanging over PNCA?

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    Spencer Boomhower March 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

    WHEW. Wow. What a relief. Thanks for keeping us posted.

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    Mitch Conner March 4, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I’m glad she’s ok. And this is why a wear a helmet.

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    Shawna March 4, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Wow. This whole story is really emotional to read. It’s hard to be in a biking family and not feel true appreciation for such an unexpectedly positive outcome. I hope you heal and feel better soon, Asha. And I hope the pathetic mess who did this doesn’t get away with it.

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    Kronda March 4, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I ride this intersection three days a week and was very disturbed to hear about the crash.

    Asha, way to go for wearing your helmet. I’m thrilled that you were able to escape this incident mostly intact. Wishing you a speedy recovery and the return or replacement of your bike. I hope you’ll keep riding!

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    mabsf March 4, 2009 at 10:52 am

    To Asha & Matt:
    I am happy to cover labor/parts, a new bike if necessary.
    AND A NEW HELMET for Asha!

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    Allison March 4, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Thank you to all the Bike Portland commenters for being you. Good news is so rare, I’m glad everyone is appreciating it.

    And heal up soon, Asha! I recommend Vit E oil for the owies as they heal – minimizes scars!

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    dgc March 4, 2009 at 11:24 am

    This is wonderful news! Speaking of “taking the lane,” isn’t there a website/blog called “suicide lane?”

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    maxadders March 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I rode through this intersection five days a week for about two years, and I don’t miss it! As any people have noted, between the trucks exiting the bridge, the right-hook potential plus the speed factor, this intersection is just plain hazardous.

    I did everything I could to make my presence known: taking the lane, riding my brakes, avoiding drivers’ blind spots, and I still nearly got clipped about once a week by drivers who’d neglected to signal or check their mirrors.

    While it sounds like this particular driver– intoxicated– would’ve ignored whatever traffic controls or green boxes we could have installed to prevent this, these precautions might reduce the hundreds of other close calls that undoubtedly happen in this spot every month.

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    metal cowboy March 4, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    It’s great to see a happy ending to this.

    mabsf – way to step up with labor, parts and helmet.

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    Rixtir March 4, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Glad to hear that she wasn’t injured any worse than she was. I’ll be hoping for a full and speedy recovery.

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    bh March 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Excellent ending to a scary story. Huge relief. 🙂

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    shantastic, agent trouble March 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    so so happy you’re okay! love & strength!

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    Scott March 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Great to hear you’ll be okay, Asha!

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    Lenny Anderson March 4, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    We should see that it becomes fully legal for bikes to take the lane in a downhill situation like the Lovejoy ramp where we can maintain legal, posted speeds. Maybe the City should remove bike lanes and instruct bicyclists to take the lane. The Interstate/Greeley right hook would have been avoided if Brett had been in the main travel lane.
    Let’s make safe riding legal.

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    Lisa March 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    ok, thank god. Asha, i’m so glad to hear you are okay. i am happily replacing the images of the whole thing running through my head with the knowledge that you are recovering well.
    and you are very welcome- i hope anyone would have done the same thing.
    the cops have my info but if there is anything else i can do, i’m there.
    take care.

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    beth h March 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    If it’s okay with you, Asha, I am saving your comments to share with my customers. Helmets are not an iron-clad guarantee, but I always feel better when I wear one and it’s good to hear from someone when the thing actually works.
    Get well soon —

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    Steve March 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Asha,
    So glad to hear your’e going to be OK, let’s hope word of the role you believe your helmet played in “saving your life” spreads to your classmates at PNCA (and the rest of the cycling community.

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    michael hall March 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    The PNCA community is so very happy that Asha did not sustain more serious injuries. Thanks to those who have offered to help her replace her bike and helmet! The Student Services staff would be glad to receive those generous donations and get them to Asha.

    Yes, we have had some terrible biking fortunes at PNCA, perhaps because so may members of our community commute by bike. We had another student involved in a bike/car accident on Tuesday (driver turned right in front of the biker, who hit “T-boned” the car)…but the student fortunately only sustained scrapes & bruises.

    Why are these accidents so often the fault of the driver and it’s the biker who is injured or killed? Both Tracey and Brett had the right-of-way when they died.

    BTW, PNCA has an active bike safety program in place, with $5 helmets, $15 bike light sets, and bike safety workshops offered through BTA and REI.

    Thanks for wearing your helmet!!

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    eric in seattle March 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Glad to see this rider is OK. I’m not familiar with this particular intersection, but it sounds like it is designed to encourage bikes to pass cars on the right. It’s high time that traffic engineers recognized that bikes going uphill and bikes going downhill need to be treated differently. Perhaps a bike lane on the uphill side and a sharrow on the downhill side would be more appropriate. In the mean time, I try to avoid passing cars on the right, even if it means getting out in the “car” lane in situations like this (although I’m told that is not legal in Oregon).

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    eric in seattle March 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Just to clarify my above comment, it was not my intent at all to blame the bike rider in this instance. All I’m suggesting is that we, as vulnerable road users, sometimes need to plan our roadway maneuvers (lane position, speed, passing, etc.) in such a way as to account for the fact that many car drivers don’t always do what they should. People drive drunk, people make unexpected u-turns or turn without signaling, etc. When one of them does something like that and it results in a collision with a bike, we’re the ones who suffer even though legally the driver is at fault. Like I said earlier, I’m really glad that the biker in this crash was not seriously hurt. I hope that the driver’s insurance company pays up and then cancels this driver’s policy, and I hope that the driver is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, none of that will stop some future stupid driver from doing the same thing.

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    Coyote March 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Asha, I am very glad to read your note, It is awesome news. 8-lives left, LOL, I am down to two.

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    Joe Rowe March 4, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Asha. Get well soon.

    There are so many good lessons that can come out of this.

    Get a lawyer ASAP. (503) 228-5222 They can help you or help you find another lawyer.
    http://www.stc-law.com/

    You will have long term mental, mechanical and bodily issues that need cash to fix. The lawyers will know how. When you get back on the bike, ride only with friends for as long as you need.

    Lesson 2:

    Had she not been wearing a helmet the helmet haters would be distorting things and saying: “even a helmet would have not saved her in this type of impact” Well guess, what, the helmet saved her life, and it saved us from more bogus anti-helmet propaganda.

    Lesson 3:

    What happens to the next perpetrator when there are fewer witnesses and the cops do what I’ve seen many times in Portland? Cops don’t want to collect all witnesses, issue a citation or blood test or do a stronger background check.

    Remember that in previous “accidents” the drivers who killed Tracey and Bret and others just gave their lopsided story and walked away, leaving the Portland police spokesperson to blame cyclists. No drug tests given. The reporters ate it up, ran the propaganda and never sought out witnesses.

    We need a policy to change this ugly pattern.

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    m March 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    do we have any actual evidence that the “helmet” saved her? It’s either a first hand or eye-witness account, neither here is exactly the most reliable source of info. Maybe it did save her but it’s a bit forward for people to be saying “See! Only idiots don’t wear helmets!”

    I’m one of those “morons” who doesn’t like helmets. Don’t get me wrong; in certain situations I will wear them. If I’m going to be going fast downhill, traveling in rush hour, or at night, etc. But I hate wearing the stupid things. They are itchy and uncomfortable and a hassle to the point where I’d often just as soon walk than get on a bike. If I’m just taking back roads during the day on off peak traffic hours, I’m not going to wear one. I ride very slow, hardly faster than if I’m a pedestrian sometimes, and stay vigilant as always.

    and before anybody says “get a better helmet”, thanks; if one such exists, I can give you my contact info if you want to research and buy one for me.

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    dersins March 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    “But I hate wearing the stupid things. They are itchy and uncomfortable”

    I heard a fractured skull can be uncomfortable too. Just sayin’.

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    Joe Rowe March 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Hey M.

    The only person using any adjective close to moron is yourself.

    My focus of adjectives was for the “helmet haters” who often post their distortions or propaganda here, shift, and public bike forums. It even effects the choices made by their impressionable offspring.

    Speaking of it like choice. If you don’t want an abortion don’t have one and don’t try to lecture others or distort things. If you don’t want a helmet, same thing.

    And the media should just plain avoid the frequent bad reporting when it comes to weather a victim was/wasn’t wearing one.

    Anyway, thanks to Asha for wearing a helmet and the witnesses who gave us the basic facts about the helmet status after the crash. We have no “actual evidence” of evolution either.

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    Asha March 14, 2009 at 12:08 am

    So I just found this update of my accident tonight, a little late I know considering I was quoted in the article and all. Anyway, I feel I have a few things to say in response to the conversation that was going on last week.

    First of all I am doing just fine, went back to school this week, can now walk normally and am healing really well. Thank you all so much for your kind wishes and concern, it is amazing to find out there is such a supportive and vocal biking community here in Portland and I am proud to be a part of it. I most definitely plan on getting back on my bike, but it will be a slow and careful process.

    Secondly, the idiot who hit me was arrested, although I don’t know if he is still being held, but this guy was homeless and living out of his car and of course has no insurance. So not only did he injure me, traumatize me and take a week of my life away (including two weeks of not being able to work) but I have to pay for it. I do have medical insurance but that doesn’t cover everything. In that light I really appreciate people’s willingness to help me get a new bike and I will most definitely accept any donations.

    In response to “M”, if you saw what my helmet looks like now I think you would be convinced that it saved my life. Anyway, didn’t anyone tell you that it’s uncomfortable at first but after you wear your helmet a few times your sweat softens the straps and then you don’t even notice it. If you don’t want to wear your helmet for one reason or another then that is your death wish, but don’t promote that it is okay not to wear one.

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    wsbob March 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    A full recovery is the best outcome. Asha, glad it’s working out that way for you and that you’ve got your eye on riding again. If people want to debate the technicalities of whether or not the bike helmet you were wearing ‘saved your life’, let them. From your account, it seems clear enough that the helmet limited the extent of injuries sustained in the collision.

    People having to live in their car adds to problems.

    m, what have you done to figure out why the helmet is itchy and uncomfortable? Maybe it’s too small, or you’ve got the straps adjusted too tight. There’s a good website that will tell you everything you would probably ever want to know about helmets: informational website about bike helmets .

    With some exceptions, most bike helmets, regardless of price, use the same type protective foam. A $20.00 helmet gives my head a good fit(I wear x-large). It fits close, but not tight. I can wear a bandana for a liner between head and helmet in winter for warmth. I keep the straps adjusted to a point that allows plenty of air circulation between the straps and under my chin when my jaw is in a normal position. If I drop my jaw slightly, it comes up against the strap.

    Some people might advise wearing it tighter, for greater certainty that it won’t slide off in a collision, but that would make it uncomfortable for me. I figure wearing it the way I do is guaranteed to provide better protection than not wearing it all.

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    TofuTodd March 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

    sorry for the spew, but the bottom line is:

    if the driver can’t produce proof of insurance and you aren’t insured, just be cautious about how much “care” you let others give you. you will be billed.

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