One year later, Kipp Crawford’s parents get their day in court

A flyer seen in North Portland
looking for clues to Crawford’s death.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In the early morning hours of November 4th, 2009, Portland musician Kipp Crawford, 39, was hit and killed by two separate drunk drivers. Last night The Oregonian reported that after over a year, Crawford’s parents have finally gotten some closure in the form of legal action in their son’s death.

According to The Oregonian, one of the people who ran over Crawford, Felisa Larae Washington, plead guilty to DUII in a Multnomah County court yesterday and was sentenced to 15 days in jail, three years of probation, and a $1,000 fine.

This case has been mired in mystery ever since that fateful night just over one year ago. According to the police, Crawford was assaulted while walking or riding (it’s not clear which) his bicycle on N. Willamette Blvd near University of Portland. Witnesses recalled hearing some sort of argument. Investigators suspect Crawford was jumped and then thrown into the road where he was then hit by two separate cars (both drivers were charged with DUII).

Here’s a snip from The Oregonian:

“Deputy district attorney Heidi Moawad said she spent months trying to find a way to prosecute the drivers for more serious charges, but evidence problems convinced her she would not be successful. Investigators are not sure who ran over Crawford first. And it’s unclear who actually caused his death — the robber who assaulted him, the first driver to strike him or the second driver who followed.”

In February of this year, the Portland Police Bureau officially ruled the case a homicide and offered a reward for clues leading to arrest of a suspect.

See all our coverage of the Kipp Crawford case here and read a full report on yesterday’s court hearing in The Oregonian.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

28 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Duncan
Duncan
13 years ago

I did not know Kip well, but my friends who knew him spoke very highly of him. This story has no happy ending.

Nick V
13 years ago

I don’t know if it’s “closure” considering all of the question marks still surrounding this incident, the attitude and “explanation” of the only person sentenced, and the relatively lean punishment given, but at least the young man’s parents got to speak their mind.

I lost my only sibling to a drunk driver in 1993. I hope that Mr. Crawford’s family can hang in there and move forward.

Esther
Esther
13 years ago

My thoughts and sympathy are with the Crawford family. I hope they can find some peace.

Megan
Megan
13 years ago

Anyone else think the Hopworks brewery “bike bar” ad below the article is inappropriate?

Ron
Ron
13 years ago

One of the drivers has a lengthy criminal record, the other a history of DUI. It is outrageous that we allow this to happen. 15 days for a life. If that same driver got drunk and shot Crawford, she would do hard time. What a travesty. I wonder when killing someone with a motor vehicle will become unacceptable to us and motivate us to address it like any other crime?

matt picio
13 years ago
Reply to  Ron

Respectfully, it’s worse than “15 days for a life”. The person prosecuted is likely to re-offend. When a person kills another person with a gun, we take away the gun. We also take away that person’s right to ever own or possess a gun again. We need to treat cars like firearms, or at least like heavy machinery, and confiscate them when they result in a death, and start revoking licenses.

There are 254 million registered automobiles in the US. There are 300 million registered firearms. Firearms cause 30,000 deaths annually (56% of those are suicides, leaving about 15,000 deaths due to homicide and “accidents”). Cars cause 39,000. If you take out suicides from both sources, you get the following:

300 million firearms – 15,000 deaths annually
254 million cars/lt trucks – 38,000 deaths annually

Obviously, depressed people shouldn’t be around guns, but really, which item is liable to be used to kill you, either willfully or through negligence or a legitimate “accident”?

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  matt picio

Matt, while it’s pretty clever of you to try to associate a car with a weapon, it’s also pretty disingenuous intellectually. Different items, different usages, guns are usually used with intent where car deaths are seldom intentional.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  Ron

None of those things mean anything. You can have a lengthy criminal record and still be an excellent driver.

Surely, any legal infractions made by the victim would not matter as an indicator to his behavior that night, either.

Jack
Jack
13 years ago

I would hope that this incident would highlight the serious problem that is our area’s lax enforcement of laws.

The victim encountered, and was killed by, three separate criminals simultaneously. I would say “what are the odds?” but obviously the odds are too high.

matt picio
13 years ago
Reply to  Jack

The problem, Jack, is how do we step up enforcement without creating a police state? There is roughly 1 police officer per 500 people in the city. In this era of recession, it’s hard for the city to keep the officers it has, and adding a new officer is at least $50,000/year (salaries are only 50% of the cost to the city). I know at least 20 officers at all levels in 4 different police agencies in Oregon, and previously sat on the advisory committe for CCSO (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office). I’ve worked on bike events with the current Chief of Portland PD, 2 sergeants, Officer Pickett, a Commander, a Captain and a Lieutenant. These men and women are working their asses off every day, and whether they do a good job or not, they take flack from the community. If they enforce all the laws, people complain. If they use some discretion as to the lesser offenses, people complain. By and large, the police are doing all the enforcement they can given the current workforce. The only way to step up enforcement is by empowering volunteers to write tickets (which has legal complications) or by increasing headcount (which has financial complications)

This issue has no simple solution. The best solution would be for people to take responsibility for themselves and their actions, slow down, pay attention, and respect the laws. that isn’t going to happen – we as a people are too wrapped up in convenience, privilege, and entitlement, and many of us think that the law doesn’t apply to them. Many of us like to point the finger at specific groups as “lawbreakers” or “scofflaws” but the simple fact is that there are so very few of us who even know, much less respect EVERY law – and there’s simply too many of them. Our society is now too complex, too regulated, and too reliant on rules to compensate for our individualism and lack of “common sense”.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago

“These men and women are working their asses off every day, and whether they do a good job or not…By and large, the police are doing all the enforcement they can given the current workforce.”

With all due respect it seems to me that a large fraction of law enforcement monies are spent fighting the war against “drugs” and making sure the poor don’t disturb the non-poor.

Augustus
Augustus
13 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

While I can understand your opinion, there aren’t any numbers to back this up. Matt clearly pointed out the issues at hand on this topic. It is far more effective to look at these issues in a rational, fact based approached instead of from emotion or opinion.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

I would say “keep up the good work”.

David Parsons
13 years ago

“how do we step up enforcement without creating a police state”

A good start would be to change the laws to reflect reality; as you previously mentioned, the current laws around automobiles basically give a driver carte blanche to do anything as long as they aren’t caught drunk at the scene of the crime. (A further argument could be made that too much energy is spent trying to enforce prohibition; if prohibition was repealed, a large swath of the police force could be returned to doing actual policing instead of the festival of stupidity that the war on drugs has always been.)

A second step would be to do some fairly extensive traffic calming on the major roads. If there was a median strip down Foster and the lanes were narrowed to Hawthorne widths that would probably do wonders to encourage better driving, because the big old margin of error on those wide unterrupted lanes we’ve got right now would just go away. (When I ride down Foster from Damascus to 100th, I can notice the traffic getting worse as the road gets wider. When I’m out in the boonies with no shoulder, cars and trucks will /slow down/ and give me ample room, even on the occasions when the drivers feel obliged to scream at me for not riding on the (nonexistant) sidewalk. But when I get into town and the lanes widen out to English Channel widths, there’s a distressingly steady stream of cars that edge right up to the left edge of the bicycle lane when they’re going on past me.)

lothar
lothar
13 years ago

Just sickening.

suburban
13 years ago

This is a very good reminder of just how many impaired drivers are out in the wee hours. If not for the human in the road, they may have gone home gone to bed, thinking nothing of DUII. They do this because the penalties are so minimal. Be safe, and know that there is no justice.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  suburban

You answered your own question. They do it because their judgment is impaired. That by definition means the drunk is incapable of making a sound decision based on repurcussions.

jim
jim
13 years ago

Do they know for sure if he was alive when the cars ran over him?

Dave Thomson
Dave Thomson
13 years ago

“… Kipp Crawford, 39, was hit and killed by two separate drunk drivers”. He may have been hit by two separate drunk drivers, but according to the story in the O prosecutors do NOT know if he was dead before the cars ran over him. Even if he wasn’t, it is impossible to tell which car actually killed him. Pretty much impossible to prosecute either driver for anything beyond DUI in those circumstances. Very sad for his family.

jim
jim
13 years ago

If there was a dead body in the freeway and cars ran over it would they prosicute everybody that ran over it?

resopmok
resopmok
13 years ago
Reply to  jim

matt picio
Our society is now too complex, too regulated, and too reliant on rules to compensate for our individualism and lack of “common sense”.

Why would you run over it?

Matt is pretty close here, but I think what our society (and our country in particular) lacks is respect – for ourselves, each other and the world at large. You would do well to show some Jim.

jim
jim
13 years ago
Reply to  resopmok

It’s not a matter of respect, It’s a matter of what might just happen. I was driving center lane in Bellevue when a car in front of me ran over a suitcase, I had nowhere to swerve and not enough time to stop, so I went right over the top of it, no choice. It did some damage to my car, but that was better than me causing another accident. If it was a body in the road perhaps at that instant I might have decided to go into the car next to me? can’t tell what will happen untill that instant.
Sure those clowns should be arrested for DUI, and whatever else, but we don’t know if they killed him or not, he might have been dead allready.
There was a wreck outside of my house last night. A bunch of kids from Cambodia in rental cars were speeding down my street went through the stop sign and t-boned a car, they didn’t seam to show any remorse at all. Nobody was hurt, the other driver (victim) isn’t sure if they have good insurance. We do need lots of rules to safeguard the innocent victims.
As our city gets larger we will have an increase in accidents, Seattle pretty much has a major accident everyday. We need to have rules for guidelines as to what is acceptable.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  jim

“We need to have rules for guidelines as to what is acceptable.”

Jim, the whole “societal standards” thing kind of gets lost with the “me first” attitude many in this town have.

Rachisbuff
Rachisbuff
13 years ago

Back to Kipp, I am still so terribly saddened at the news of his tragic death. I had several classes with kipp in high school – he was one of the coolest, sweetest people I can think of. My heart breaks for the Crawfords. I hope they find some peace whether knowing the tragic details or not.

Merckxrider
Merckxrider
13 years ago

The driver’s contact information should be made public on this website, so that she can be stalked and prevented from driving in a dangerous state again. It might change her behavior if she was knocked down whilst staggering drunk to her car and relieved of her keys at that time.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  Merckxrider

I wonder how you will feel the day that person being stalked is you. Slippery slope there, Eddy.

Merckxrider
Merckxrider
13 years ago

I don’t get in the car when there’s anything fermented in my system.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
13 years ago
Reply to  Merckxrider

Which does not mean you don’t drive dangerously. And when you leave that judgment up to someone else, you can see where things lead. It will be particularly interesting if you, as a guy (assumption are stalking a woman.