Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 9th, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(Photo: Mult. Co. Sheriff)
Wayne Conrad Thompson, who was initially charged with First Degree Assault for backing his car into Mike Luther in a parking lot in August 2009, was sentenced with only probation yesterday.
“A 35-year-old driver who struck a bicyclist while reversing his SUV was sentenced to three years of probation Tuesday after a judge found him not guilty last month of intentionally slamming into the cyclist.
Wayne Conrad Thompson of Southeast Portland would have received a mandatory minimum 7 1/2 years in prison if found guilty of the crime — first-degree assault — that police and prosecutors thought he committed. But in trial, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Henry Kantor found Thompson guilty of the lesser crime of third-degree assault — then sentenced him to probation, two days of anger counseling, a drug evaluation and treatment if necessary and a five-year suspension of his driver’s license.”
After the incident occurred, The Oregonian reported on court documents that contained witness accounts stating that Thompson, “backed into the bicyclist at an estimated 40 mph” and that he put his Kia into reverse “as fast as it possibly could go” before plowing into the bicyclist”.
There were also several reports that a heated argument had broken out between Thompson and Luther prior to Thompson putting his car in reverse.
According to the story in The Oregonian, Thompson testified he was backing up “because he’d decided to go in a different direction.” Investigators determined that he backed up for more than 250 feet at a rate of speed between 15 and 29 mph.
Luther, who was on his bike at the time, suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the collision. Back in April, we published a call for help put out by Luther’s family. He has struggled to get his life back after the incident and has still not returned to work.
Luther testified at the sentencing hearing yesterday. From The Oregonian:
“… Luther told Thompson he forgives him and urged him to find a career he’s passionate about. “We are both fortunate individuals,” Luther said. “I’m alive, and you can still have your freedom,” he said.”
Thompson also testified:
When given the chance to speak, Thompson said: “This incident changed my whole view on life,” but he didn’t apologize.
Thompson was released from custody by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office yesterday.
Read the full report on the hearing in The Oregonian.