On eve of grand jury hearing, family of assault victim releases statement

Posted by on September 4th, 2009 at 6:51 am

Mike Luther and his grandson, Lucas.
(Photo: Family of Mike Luther)

The family of Mike Luther — the man who was seriously injured while riding his bicycle near NE 122nd and Glisan one week ago — has released a statement on the eve of a grand jury hearing in the case.

According to his family, Luther, who turns 53 today, is still hospitalized and his prognosis is “unclear”. Not much is known about the details of what happened that night. What has been reported thus far is that the man who drove his car into Luther, Wayne Conrad Thompson, backed into him at a high rate of speed. Thompson was detained and charged with first-degree assault.

In their statement, Luther’s family shares that he was an advocate for biking and public transportation and that a donation fund has been set up to help pay for his medical bills.

Here is the statement (emphasis BikePortland):

Mike Luther is a public transportation and safe biking advocate. His chosen method of transportation is his bicycle, and he taught his daughter and nieces and nephews how to navigate and enjoy Portland’s rich public bus and light-rail system. At the apartment complex where he lives, Mike’s the guy the children of the area go to when they need a helmet.

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Mike remains hospitalized with substantial injuries. His prognosis is unclear; all we know for certain is there will be a long recovery for Mike that will include a lengthy rehabilitation period. The family thanks the Portland Police Bureau and in particular the homicide detectives for their quick and rapid response and continued support. Witnesses are encouraged to contact the Portland Police detectives at 503-839-0692.

Mike is one of the 649,000 Oregonians not covered by a health insurance plan and according to preliminary legal counsel it is unclear if the driver of the car has insurance to cover Mike’s medical bills. Because of this, a Special Needs contribution account has been opened in Mike’s behalf at US Bank. Donations can be made to the Mike Luther fund at any US Bank branch. The family thanks contributors in advance and those who have already contributed for assisting with medical costs.

Again, the family thanks Mike’s community, his friends and extended family for the support through this difficult time.

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Vance Longwell
Guest

“Mike is one of the 649,000 Oregonians not covered by a health insurance plan and according to preliminary legal counsel it is unclear if the driver of the car has insurance to cover Mike’s medical bills.”

As far as I know this happened on private property, and I can’t imagine Conrad’s insurance provider will cover this in any way. If he had any. I wonder if the criminal component affects this? I’ve been very worried for these folks financially. I’m so glad to see they are set-up for donations.

This is horrible, and I really hope Mr. Luther get’s his life back.

CMark
Guest

…time for a Mike Luther Recovery fundraiser ride.

Get well and get back on the bike, Mike! Tailwinds and good wishes!

peejay
Guest
peejay

There it is. We live in a country where people have to beg for money to pay for medical expenses. Oh, but of course, the alternative is SOCIALISM!!!! Can someone explain to me why our system, where people have to beg for their health care, pay more for it, and don’t live as long on average, is preferable to the health care policies of most of the rest of the civilized world?

Bent Bloke
Guest
Bent Bloke

Vance,

If the driver has insurance, it will provide coverage to the victim. It doesn’t matter if it happened on private property or not. I used to be a Property and Casualty agent. There is no exclusion for accidents that occur on private property.

Stig
Guest
Stig

If the attacker has insurance, I’d suggest releasing the name of the insurer. They won’t like the prospect of bad publicity and may fast-track payment.

Love my bike
Guest
Love my bike

Folks,

As someone who was hit by a car recently I know a bit about this. #3 is correct that insurance will provide coverage, but only to the driver’s policy limit. That was probably used up in the first couple of days in the hospital. The order of entities to pay is:

1. Cyclists car insurance
2. Cyclsits health insurance
3. Drivers car insurance

If Mr. Luther did not have the first two, then it’s up to whatever coverage the driver has. State minimums are very, very low. Sad but true. I wish him the best for a good physical, mental and financial recovery. All three are important.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Another issue this case brings up:
– is that jurisdictions do not usually collect traffic crash data from private property. (parking lots, private streets, etc.), so this type of crash/ injury are underreported – except when the press covers it.

Joe
Guest
Joe

wow good to know this #5 I wish Mike a full
recovery from this!

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

If I understand the story correctly Mr. Conrad had backed into Mr. Luther intentionally. If this is the case then chances are that Mr. Conrad’s insurance will not cover any of the medical bills. Most auto insurance policies exclude intentional acts. Of course he can fight it in Arbitration or court, but his chances are not very good. It really depends on what Conrad claims his intentions were. If he didn’t intend to injury or strike Mr. Luther but to just scare him and acidentally struck him then they may be coverage, but if he intended to back over him then there will not.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Andrew:

I’m sure you’re right, but that’s quite a weasel-clause on the part of the insurance companies. I mean, it’s surprising they don’t agree with us and say that, since there really is no such thing as an “accident”, they won’t pay for anything!

Peter Noone
Guest
Peter Noone

For those of us who don’t find ourselves near a US Bank very often, is there a way to make a donation online? If I could just click a button and pay through something like PayPal, I would have already donated. As it is, I may end up not donating, even though I’d really like to, only because my daily routine doesn’t take me anywhere near a US Bank.

-Bisy Backson

Mimi Luther
Guest
Mimi Luther

Thanks – I’ll work on seeing if we can set up something via PayPal. Every little bit will help right now.

Horrified
Guest
Horrified

Re: #9
If Conrad admits to running over Mike Luther in order to save his insurance company money, he is insane. He must want to be in jail for assault/battery and lose the personal injury lawsuit that should be filed against him.

I hope he has some money that can be taken from him.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Get Well Soon Mike!

God Bless!

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

If the driver had insurance, the PIP will pay the medical bills…

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Peejay #10- I can understand how it can seem that way, but insurance is to cover accidents that occur. Intentional acts are the opposite of accidents. If insurance companies covered intentional acts people would be able to intentionally run bicyclists (or anyone) and not be personally responsible (civilly at least), it’s too great a risk and probably not a good idea to cover intentional acts.

Horrified #9- I agree, plus it would be self defeating. He would still be liable for his actions and he would not have the coverage of his insurance policy, leaving himself personally exposed to suits and legal action. More than likely Mr. Conrad would want to present this as an accident to avoid the personal risk of lawsuit, and the insurance company will work equally as hard to prove it was intentional. This is said without any bearing of what actually happened. Even if it was an accident, it doesn’t seem to be in this case, the insurance company will work as hard it can to present it as intentional.

Dabby #15- This is true, but only if there is coverage for this accident. If it was an intentional act, there will not be. State minimum for Personal Injury Protection in OR is $15,000.00, which many (maybe most) people in the state carry. This amount can easily be spent before Mr. Luther left the ER. Not nearly enough coverage. Hopefully, Mr. Luther has a car and active coverage. Most auto policies will activate PIP coverage for an insured even if the accident occurred on a bicycle, it may be statute law, but I am not sure.

What would be better is if we had universal healthcare, then this whole conversation would be moot and it would allow the Luthers’ to focus on recovering from these horrific actions and not worry about how they will pay for Mr. Luther’s medical care.

/sorry for the healthcare soapbox I know this is a bike forum, but I can’t help noticing how it effects everything.

Mimi Luther
Guest
Mimi Luther

Just wanted to give an update: Thompson (the driver of the car) goes to trial on Monday, 3/8. He’s being charged with Assault 1 and Assault 2. My brother is still recouperating – doing alright, but still with significant deficits especially in terms of short and immediate memory. I’ll post more after Monday’s trial.