Off-duty Portland cop allegedly assaulted while biking to work

Larry Fornshell’s booking photo.

A Portland Police Bureau Sergeant who was riding his bike into work yesterday morning was involved in an altercation with a man driving a car that has resulted in the driver being arrested for hit and run and attempted assault.

Here’s how it played out according to a PPB press release (emphasis mine):

“Early Tuesday morning March 22, 2011, a Portland Police Sergeant was riding his bike to work eastbound on Northwest Cornell Road when a motorist drove along side of his bike within inches of hitting him while riding. The driver, later identified as 68-year-old Larry Fornshell, passed Sergeant Santos and continued on. When both came into town to a traffic control device, Sergeant Santos rode to the right of Mr. Fornshell’s car. Fornshell turned right, into Santos.

Just prior to the intersection of Northwest 25th Avenue and Northwest Lovejoy Street, Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly. Santos said he had to ride to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid hitting Fornshell’s car and slapped Fornshell’s vehicle with his hand. When Santos and Fornshell came to the intersection, Fornshell put his vehicle in reverse and attempted to hit Santos on his bike. Santos jumped off of his bike and ran with his bike to the sidewalk. Fornshell then hit Santos’ bike as he was holding onto it. Santos jumped out of the way to avoid being struck and Fornshell left the scene of the crash. Santos remembered the license plate number from the vehicle and called 911.”

By yesterday evening, the police had found and arrested Fornshell for Hit and Run and Attempted Assault. Investigators are looking for witnesses who might have seen the incident at NW 25th and Lovejoy. If you saw anything, please contact Det. Kevin Warren at (503) 823-3761.

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dan
dan
11 years ago

Too bad it takes a cop getting run down for charges to be pressed, but I’m still glad to see one of these vehicular assault cases being taken seriously by law enforcement. Good that Sergeant Santos wasn’t hurt.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  dan

For the record here, the cop was NOT run down in this incident!!! I am an avid cyclist myself, and do NOT condone such behavior from any drivers out there….. however, the whole story is not being told right now, and a lot of very important information is being left out.

arborio
arborio
11 years ago

gordon- what important information are you referring to? i’ve heard from 2 witnesses and the victim, seems pretty clear thus far

Tony Columbo
Tony Columbo
11 years ago
Reply to  arborio

This cop has a long history of fabricating stories. But what cop with his tenure does’nt?

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  Tony Columbo

“This cop has a long history of fabricating stories. …” Tony Columbo

He does? Really? And you can cite some news stories or other commonly accessible info that would verify what your claim? To this story, you’re the first person in more than 190 comments to have implied any such thing about this cop. So either you have some very exclusive information, or you’re just taking a cheap, unwarranted shot.

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  dan

The takeaway on this story is regardless of what it took, one demonstrably hostile driver is currently off the road and not menacing cyclists (or anyone else) with his motor vehicle. Anytime that happens, it’s a win. Sure, we need to get it to the point where this happens when it’s a bike messenger getting menaced rather than an off-duty officer – but I’m still thankful this guy is not on the road.

Jeff
Jeff
11 years ago

If that’s Joe Santos, I’m going to buy that guy a beer next time I see him.
Crazy guy actually looks familiar to me…glad he’s behind bars, at least for the afternoon.

Nick V
11 years ago

Poetic justice that the guy he tried to run down happened to be an officer. Throw the book at ‘im and I’m glad the cop is okay.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Nick V

Interesting that you would want to throw the book at someone without actually knowing the whole truth and the whole story first. I do believe the truth will prevail, and that justice will be served.

Michaelk42
Michaelk42
11 years ago

A cop gets assaulted this way and suddenly there’s something the police can do? Shocking.

Michael Wolfe
Michael Wolfe
11 years ago

Agree with all the sentiments above, but if it had been a civilian, the cops would have ignored the whole thing, especially if the cyclist had the temerity to “slap the vehicle with his hand” in response to nearly being run down.

cold worker
cold worker
11 years ago
Reply to  Michael Wolfe

a very similar thing happened to me. i got a little roughed up by a dude who jumped out of his car and knocked me down in the street after i slapped his passenger side window as he passed me and squeezed me into parked cars. the cop who showed up said i was lucky i wasn’t hit by him while in his car (!) and that i was lucky the guy didn’t pound me for slapping his car (!!!). i had the license plate, the driver took off when people started pulling out cell phones, and the driver had a suspended license. the cop still didn’t really care. at all.

John Lascurettes
11 years ago
Reply to  Michael Wolfe

I was thinking exactly that. I read a blog post recently where there was a guy who was fined for disorderly conduct after slapping a car mirror and no charges were filed for the driver that tried to run him down.

Peebody
Peebody
11 years ago
Reply to  Michael Wolfe

The truth is because it was a cop, he fell into training mode and got the license plate first – the most important piece of evidence, and it’s extremely likely he had his police radio on him…no cops i know want to let anyone get away with such a thing…

ilikeyournewhaircut
11 years ago

I didn’t know cyclists are allowed to spank naughty cars! Learn something new everyday.

Avid Rider
Avid Rider
11 years ago

I didn’t know that either, and here I have been trowing water bottles into their back windows as the speed of after trying to run me into the ditch…

craig
craig
11 years ago

Works when you’re a cop, maybe. Not when you’re not. Only material differences between this case and the Glen Glans case are (1) that the cop slapped the car instead of spitting on it, and (2) the driver only assaulted him with his car instead of ADDITIONALLY getting out of the car to attack him by hand. Oh yeah, and there was only one assailant instead of two.

Well, one more thing, I guess. You know how we’ve been learning that it pays to hit-and run if you hit a cyclist (unless maybe hif e’s a cop)? Glen’s case teaches us it’s even better to hit the cyclist, then stop your car and try to kick the rider’s ass, then be the first to call 911.

kww
kww
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

Always be the 1st to call 911 first!

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  kww

Funny you should mention this…. that is exaclty what the driver of the vehicle did after he got to work and told someone about what had happened!!! He filed a police report.

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
11 years ago

Sounds like you have some personal interest/connection in this case. Care to share?

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike Fish

I would if I could… but can’t as of right now due to the case still being active. Lawyers are involved, and so I have to wait for things to play out in court before I speak anymore on the issue. I wish I could just openly tell all I know about it right now, sorry that I can’t just yet.

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike Fish

That’s good to know – the police report is a matter of public record, so interested parties can always request a copy.

CaptainKarma
CaptainKarma
11 years ago
Reply to  kww

Sounds like a divorce strategy.

T. Drake
T. Drake
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

THANK YOU! Sure doesn’t seem just to me that Glen had to go through immature name calling & threats on blogs, months waiting for a P.D. to get any seemingly decent legal assistance, fines and spend hundreds more on anger management after having spit on a car that ran him off the road then verbally threatening to use his bike lock (it never left his hand) in self defense when the driver & passenger got out of the car and came after him, clearly prepared to assault him.
The one good thing that came out of that matter was that the Judge ordered Glen to pay the poor “elderly” man (btw: I know some 60 year olds that could whoop anyone’s butt) $20.00 for his trip to the E.R.! That pretty much says it all !
Why is this such an issue in Portland? Aren’t adults who are old enough to have drivers licenses supposed to have learned to share by now? What is up with this “us vs. them” mentality and what happen to common courtesy? What a sad, sad example to be setting for the next generation that will be both riding and driving!

craig
craig
11 years ago

I especially like how the PPB issues a bulletin treating the cop’s testimony as unquestioned fact.

Jeff
Jeff
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

Santos’s on your side “craig”…

craig
craig
11 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Wasn’t a comment on Santos, but on the PPB’s astonishingly favorable treatment of his case because he’s one of them.

Khal Spencer
11 years ago

Revoke Fornshell’s driver’s license and make him ride a bike for a year.

Recently, a truck driver passed two bicyclists down here in a manner that resulted in an incident. In the resulting incident, the truck driver stopped, got out of the truck with a large tire iron, and approached the cyclists in a menacing manner. What the truck driver didn’t know what that the guy in the car pulling up behind the scene of the altercation was our Chief of Police. The truck driver was arrested for felony assault.

Sometimes these do work out right. Not often enough.

craig
craig
11 years ago

Sorry to come across unsympathetic to Sgt. Santos. I’m deeply sympathetic, and hope he’s unhurt and that justice is served in this case. I’m just a bit flustered by the difference in how these cases are treated by the PPB.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

You have NO idea!!! If only I could tell you about how the cops arrested him, and how they treated him….. YIKES!!! Pretty crazy…. makes me glad I live nowhere near there!!! 🙁

MarkB
MarkB
11 years ago

Gordon — when someone USES THEIR CAR AS A WEAPON, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy about how they are ‘treated’. There ARE bike riders out there who would have done more than call 911 — some would, right now, be plotting some diabolical act for the time the driver walks the street again. So YOU need to be thankful, as well as the legion of riders who are following this story, that it was a cop he tried to assault (actually, DID assault, just came up short of battery).

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  MarkB

Point is….there was never an assault! I am also an avid cyclist, and am in complete agreement with you…. I have had way to many close calls over the years, and it makes me sick when drivers are so irresposnsible around us….. what I am saying is that in this case, that just isn’t what happened. The actual events are quite different from what is being told here… that’s all.

The story will eventually all unravel…. for now, there is nothing more I can say, other than I am sorry for both parties involved… not a good deal for either one of them.

beth h
11 years ago

Gordon — if you “can’t say anything”, then why are you commenting at all right now? Seems the wise thing to do is to keep silent until you really CAN speak, no?

Charley
Charley
11 years ago

Driving your car at someone is an assault. Your friend is lucky Santos was able to get out of the way, or it could have been murder.

T. Drake
T. Drake
11 years ago

Doesn’t surprise me in the least that only a very small and likely biased portion of the story is being told in print! Same thing happened in the Glen Glans case! In fact, I’d be willing to bet it happens more often than not!

k.
k.
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

I agree. I have sympathy for any vulnerable user of the road, but the disparity between how a cop’s case gets handled and anyone else is apparent. With any luck this will help all cops realize what ordinary civilians have to cope with.

Jim
Jim
11 years ago

Wish I were a cop when I was a victim of vehicular assault a few months ago.

mac
mac
11 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Yeah, I’ve learned not to waste my time calling the cops when I get right-hooked, knocked down, and the driver takes off without stopping. Even when I’m a little banged up and there are witnesses. The police won’t do anything. I’m glad this guy is getting in trouble, but it sucks that it takes a cop being a victim for there to be any justice.

Opus the Poet
11 years ago

That sounded like a normal ride to church for me, except that I normally don’t have a sidewalk to flee to after they run me off the road, and most times they don’t come back for seconds.

Brad
Brad
11 years ago

Since one of their own was assaulted while riding a bike, perhaps this will change the way the PPB looks at these incidents going forward?

In any event, after going back for seconds, Mr. Fornshell is toast!

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Brad

Mr. Fornshell never went back for seconds…. he never even had firsts….. this story is as all media… completely altered to make it sound way better than it actually is or was!!! And for the record, the cop involved was NEVER assaulted…… even the charges against Mr. Fornshell are for attempted assault

Brad
Brad
11 years ago

You wouldn’t have a personal bias now, would you?

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Brad

No… because as a cyclist, it wouldn’t matter to me if the driver were my family member or a close friend or other relative…. if they were to intentionally or accidently cause harm to a cyclist, myself or any other… I would be furious with them, and would expect them to pay for what they did. I am an avid cyclist, and I belive firmly that the roads are NOT nearly as safe as they should be for us. The states and counties do NOT do nearly enough to help us stay safe out there!

I am the first to get very upset when drivers do not give me proper space, or cut me off, or treat me like I don’t belong on the road. And when I see drivers with on their cell phones or texting and driving, I look for opportunities to turn them in, or to exchange some words of wisdom to them.

My only personal bias in this story is that I know way more details about what actually happened than anyone else here making comments does…. and since the story isn’t being told correctly or completely, I just wanted to bring that up.

David
David
11 years ago

That being the case, why not tell the story rather than mearly imply the charges are false?

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
11 years ago

You’re being sketchy. The obvious question now is “how do you know so much more than everyone else?”

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago

There’s a broken bike in evidence.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

Yes, there is a bike in evidence. there is also a Honda CRV vehicle in evidence as well. Means nothing to you or I, as we weren’t there to witness what happened, andwe aren’t the ones doing the forensic evidence to prove what happened.

there are also two human beings involved, both of whom have NO physical injuries, no bodily harm.

Andrew Lynch
Andrew Lynch
11 years ago

Since you or I were not there to witness this….how do you claim to know the truth?

matt picio
11 years ago

No bodily harm doesn’t mean a crime didn’t occur. Asssault does not require injury. As you say, it’ll be interesting to hear all the facts come out in this case and hear the whole story.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago
Reply to  Brad

I’m not going to hold my breath.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago

It would be good to keep track of the details here, of how the case unfolds, what the fines or other outcomes are, and then compare these to similar cases where the cyclist isn’t a cop, with all the power that comes with that office. If there end up being any glaring discrepancies, I’d hope this could be brought to the attention of the PPB and that they would offer an explanation, or better yet a plan for how to take what they’ve learned from this case and apply it more broadly to less well-positioned cyclists who also find themselves in the unfortunate position described here.

Steve
Steve
11 years ago

Something tells me there is more to the story…

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Um… YES… there is much more to this story than has been told here… much more… and actually, with a fair amount different. Remember…. this is being reported by the media, not anyone who actually was involved, or who actually knows anything at all about what really happened. And, as always… there are at least TWO sides to the story!!!

Mark
Mark
11 years ago

Gordon you keep alluding to that there is MORE to this story. Care to add what you do know for certain and how do you know that?

Daniel
Daniel
11 years ago

Are you basically saying the cop provoked the car driver? Saying ‘there’s more to the story’ doesn’t help much. Just curious.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Daniel

Daniel… I wish I could say more, seriously…but due to the case being active, and lawers now involved… I simply have to keep quiet until something has happened in court. I wish I could set the record straight….but am willing to say that you are spot on with your response to me.

Ely
Ely
11 years ago

Gordon, I call BS. If you can’t talk about it, DON’T TALK ABOUT IT. As it is you’re just stirring the pot. I don’t believe you have any inside info at all.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
11 years ago

“I simply have to keep quiet…”

Then do it.

I think we all know there are n+1 sides to every story: one for every witness/concerned party, and then the truth. Quit trying to be important by citing your “security clearance” and inability to tell all you know. I know it’s exciting to be an insider, but chances are you’re just going to make people mad, or else slip up and say more than you’re supposed to.

Charley
Charley
11 years ago

Then shut up.

kww
kww
11 years ago

In some cities bike cops are chosen at random and it is a duty they must pull, instead of volunteering for as in Portland.

I am a proponent of being ‘drafted’ for duty as it helps foster understanding of the issues.

T. Drake
T. Drake
11 years ago
Reply to  kww

What a concept! Great idea, really; but then, I’m sue drivers are going to be much more careful around cyclists w/badges & guns than they are the average guy ridin’ his bike to work one weekday morning!

Zaphod
Zaphod
11 years ago

Negativity against the PPD is unproductive and creates defensiveness. If all this community does is complain without a little respect, then it’s hard to find sympathy for little respect to flow towards us.

I’d like to see this incident trigger more understanding for what we cyclists experience when things go wrong. When “one of their own” experiences what we do, perhaps we all can see eye-to-eye on the fact that we’re all trying to get somewhere safely and without hassle.

Michaelk42
Michaelk42
11 years ago
Reply to  Zaphod

As Tiffany said, you know what? NO. This IS a huge double standard here. Pointing out the obvious discrepancy in treatment isn’t “negativity.”

TonyT
tonyt
11 years ago
Reply to  Zaphod

Zaphod,

I accord basic respect tentatively, and after that it is earned. I know that I am not alone in my experiences with the PPB where they have earned my lack of respect, actively, as if they had more than they needed and were only too happy to alienate members of the general population and the cycling community specifically.

If they want my respect back, they will have to run a considerable streak of earning it.

spare_wheel
11 years ago
Reply to  Zaphod

And to think I actually *believed* I had good reasons for my dislike of the police. Its such a huge relief to not have think about excessive force, racial profiling, quasi-militarism, and political patronage any longer.

Caroline
Caroline
11 years ago

I absolutely love this story! I feel like if someone did this to me, they’d also be messing with the wrong person, but I think I’ll just live vicariously through Santos for now. I hope he’s feeling better than OK. 😀

Joe
Joe
11 years ago

TOTAL madness ! I have had something like this happen to me before scary.

dwainedibbly
dwainedibbly
11 years ago

I’m glad the officer is ok.

On a positive note, perhaps this will open some eyes in the PPD.

Tiffany
11 years ago

Ugh. I feel awful for the police officer, it’s terrifying when someone tries to run you down. I know because it happened to me. Sadly, the police had a very different response, “we can’t just believe everyone about road rage incidents you know. You could be making it up.” I guess being hysterical and in tears was just an act!

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Tiffany

Funny… even police officers can make stuff up aopparently!!! 🙁

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago

I know Joe personally and he’s not only a police officer but a great guy. I would vouch for him anytime- and he’s been nothing but an asset to the cycling community. He’s gone out of his way to help cyclists before. He’s a dang good racer too. Racer, commuter, police officer- now there’s a role model. Frankly- some of you should be ashamed and realize that Joe does read this stuff too.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

I am NOT taking sides, because like every one of you.. I WASN’T there, or involved in the situation. I am simply pointing out that no one here actually knows what went down, or who is at fault for what here, yet everyone seems to be ready to just throw the book at Mr. Fornshell, who’s side of the story is a bit different than what has been reported, and lines up with what the officer reported…. also not the same as what is being reported.

Sure sounds like a he said/he said case

Rob Anderson
Rob Anderson
11 years ago

Not taking sides? BS. You’ve got a clear conflict of interest in the situation, given that you’re married to a family member of the accused. You can’t claim to be a neutral voice of reason, sorry. Yet you seem to have no problem calling out others as biased.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
11 years ago

Site 3rd party verifiable FACT or STFU.

Bjorn
Bjorn
11 years ago

You specifically accuse the officer of lying, that sure seems like taking sides. Given how high the bar is for anyone to get arrested in a situation like this cop or no cop I can’t imagine the driver wasn’t doing something pretty out there. Also since you are related to the accused you obviously have a pretty large conflict of interest here.

jennlevo
jennlevo
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

What Kenji said… Joe is a great guy and well, he just happens to be a cop too. And, I can guess that he acted in the best and most responsible way possible for the situation. He’s always been a great source of aid and resource whenever anyone on his team or friends had a similar incident or run in’s with aggressive drivers.

Note to self: buy Joe a six pack.

Daniel Porter
Daniel Porter
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

+1 to what Kenji said.

T. Drake
T. Drake
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

Completely understand where your’e coming from but these comments are nothing in comparison to the animosity, anger, vengeance, rude and hateful comments that were made against my son when he was the cyclist! For that, Joe can be grateful. I’m sure he’s a nice guy; I have nothing against police officers as long as they’re out for the betterment of the community and not on a power trip, but if he were not an officer of the law, the comments posted (not so much here as other sites) would likely be considerably more disrespectful & hurtful!

craig
craig
11 years ago
Reply to  Tiffany

GOT TO get that GoPro helment cam!

mike
mike
11 years ago

I love it how this story turns into police bashing. Just imagine what these folks go through every single day!! It’s easy to point fingers when your most important decision is whether to get a double or triple mocha.

Greg
Greg
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

It’s not bashing. It’s just pointing out the well documented double standard that is endemic to systems such as police forces, military, etc.

Tiffany
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

Are you reading the comments? We’re angry because when the exact same thing happened to us, we were ignored or dismissed by the same people willing to prosecute now.

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago
Reply to  Tiffany

A guy hit me on purpose in ’03 or ’04. Guy went to jail for 10 days.

Mark
Mark
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

You got to tell the rest of us how you managed to get that to happen when so many here who experienced the same thing did not get such a result.

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Actually a pretty interesting story. Guy ran over my bike (while I was on it) and took off. Called 911 and I sat until OSP came an hour later and took my statement. Trooper went to the guy’s house to investigate. Figured the guy was drunk but couldn’t do anything about it since it was so far removed from the fact. The trooper was hesitant to charge the guy but I was friendly and persistent. Gave him the statutes to charge him under. Trooper then wrote it up on a citation then I signed it. He delivered it to the driver. Then I got in touch with the DA’s office and victim’s assistance. The person who actually ended up prosecuting it was a law student. (3rd years are allowed to do it). It was great because he was really invested and interested in the case. He was convicted! What helped was having a knowledge of the law and being extremely friendly. Remember, DDA’s and officers appreciate being treated nicely. They deal with a lot of garbage and being professional and courteous goes a long way.

Michaelk42
Michaelk42
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

The plural of anecdote is not data.

Michaelk42
Michaelk42
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

Yeah, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in a job that doesn’t even crack the top 10 for the most dangerous, yet hype it up like it’s #1.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/08/fishing-construction-logging-business-most-dangerous-jobs.html

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  Michaelk42

I’m not sure that’s really relevant. Even the most dangerous jobs aren’t that “dangerous” – your chances of dying or being injured on the job aren’t that dissimilar from dying of non-job causes like car crashes, slip & fall, or firearms. What’s far more relevant in my opinion is how stressful the job is. From that standpoint, law enforcement, air traffic controllers, 911 operators and social workers deserve and get my respect – they do jobs that ordinary humans can’t. Law enforcement is the 5th most stressful job, right above commercial pilots (who are #3 in terms of “most dangerous”). And according to another source: http://www.billshrink.com/blog/8642/12-of-the-most-stressful-jobs-in-america/ it’s actually the #1 most stressful job.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t examine the story critically, nor that we should assume the officer in question has an unbiased and objective view of the incident – but saying the job is over-hyped because officers don’t rank in the top 10 in deaths/injuries is unwarranted. Perhaps they’re just better at avoiding those outcomes due to training, equipment, backup, and the benefits of authority. Firefighters are the #1 stressful job and they don’t rank in the top 10 in deaths either – in fact the only profession that ranks top 10 in both stress and deaths is taxi drivers, and that kind of speaks for itself given how many hours/miles they drive.

Michaelk42
Michaelk42
11 years ago
Reply to  matt picio

Oh, BS.

When “Mike” comes in with:

“Just imagine what these folks go through every single day!! It’s easy to point fingers when your most important decision is whether to get a double or triple mocha.”

Such condescending BS as that, it needs to be pointed out that it doesn’t take a superhuman to do the job, much less someone better than everyone else (but for purposes of his comment, especially us.)

S brockway
S brockway
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

Just what is it exactly “these folks go thru every day ”
that they didn’t “sign on ” for?

Finn
Finn
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

@mike

“Just imagine what these folks go through every single day!!”

I can totally appreciate what these people go through every day. Putting themselves in harm’s way just for trying to get where they’re going, facing hostility just for being out on the road, being assaulted with deadly force simply for trying to make a driver aware of their presence before they get run over, or for something as trivial as slapping a hood…

Wait, did you mean cops?

craig
craig
11 years ago
Reply to  Finn

“Like!”

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

Try reading the Oregonian’s comments–I think it’s usually about comment one or two that starts the cyclist-bashing on stories like this. Comments here are really quite rational.

Tiffany
11 years ago

And does anyone have a description of that man’s car?

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Tiffany

Yes… they do. In fact, it was taken into custody as evidence……

Tiffany
11 years ago

Yeah, I found it. I live in the same neighborhood as that cop and it was a SUV that tried to run me down, on 25th too. Mine was a red GMC though. His was silver something.

Tourbiker
11 years ago

wonder if Santos could now vouch for the feeling that being treated this way is like having a gun pointed at you.
Something most riders already know

Suburban
Suburban
11 years ago

It is impossible to recreate the events using the two lead paragraphs of this story, although you can certainly get the up-shot with the photo.

michweek
michweek
11 years ago

I’m going to become a cop! Yup, if that’s they only way any kind of action will be taken, then I’m doing it!
I was intionally run off a skinny road by some black pt cruiser and called in the license plate crying due to the thought that some one totally disrespected my life and could/would of killed me, just to be told no can do! What bull!!

Kevin
11 years ago

I slapped a car once after it’s driver threatened me and the group I was riding with. The driver ran into me, knocking me to the ditch. I was charged with criminal mischief for slapping the car and damaging the mirror in the process. I guess I should have been a cop instead of just a working stiff. Story at the following link:
http://tinyurl.com/clby4b

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Cripes. I remember that one. I think I e-mailed with you didn’t I?

Joe-Bike.com
11 years ago

The whole system, starting with the police, needs hard evidence. Give them hard evidence: Get a helmet cam.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
11 years ago
Reply to  Joe-Bike.com

Yeah, I like the Contour GPS but we are left with the “admissible in court” issue.

It will be easily argued by any lawyer that the video could have been altered by anyone with any of the free software available online.

The only thing I think might work is if we can get a law passed saying that the reporting officer has to accept the video memory card on site, at the incident, as real unaltered expert testimony. This coupled with accurate GPS data, with VERY VERY accurate time stamps (due to GPS) it should be easy to rule out data tampering.

Kevin
11 years ago

Yup Kenji, you did.

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Dang it. Sorry it turned out that way. 🙁

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

You shouldn’t have to smile and make lots of phone calls to get justice.

Mike bodd
Mike bodd
11 years ago

I think g neitling is Larry fornshell!

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike bodd

No… I am G. Neitling, my real name… absolutely nothing to hide here. Born and raised in Portland/Beaverton, OR. Live way up north and work as a firefighter in Bellingham, WA. I am an avid cyclist myself.

Lazlo
Lazlo
11 years ago

So…your intimate knowledge of this incident comes from the accused, who would in no way be biased.

zb
zb
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike bodd

related by marriage

Ted Buehler
Ted Buehler
11 years ago

Plailnly, what we need is a campaign to get more cops to commute by bike.

Ted Buehler

deborah
deborah
11 years ago

Some Portland Police officers are also bike commuters?!! How can this be anything but a REALLY big plus for the biking community.

Yes, I agree that (probably on a daily basis) there are huge differences about this story and others that do not cover bike commuting police officers. Though I bet that will change as more officers also bike commute.

Sadly though, I would almost always assume that a driver would react very angrily if I ‘smacked’ their car. It is a HUGELY provoking action to take – even if it is often warranted. It’s very threatening. It jolts a person out of the sanctity of their automobile and makes them feel that they are not in control, even trapped and claustrophobic. It almost begs them to pop out and start a fight with you. And almost certainly I would feel the same way if anyone decided to try and touch my bike in anger. I would feel immediately violated, safety and prized property threatened, and probably react fairly viscerally.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  deborah

Deborah….. ding, ding, ding, ding….. you are a winner. Your thoughts on how a driver may react when being threatened, and is caught off guard and scared for their personal safety….. hmmmmmm, just may have a lot ot do with this type of case.

cycler
11 years ago

ooh yeah, no difference at all between a human hitting a two ton steel and glass machine with their hand and the same two ton steel and glass machine nearly hitting a human- completely equal and the guy on the bike absolutely deserved to be run over for it- show him to ever touch another person’s personal property!

I think that what you seem to be missing Mr. Neitling is that ” feeling threatened” is not a legitimate excuse to try to kill an un armed, un-enclosed-in-steel human being by running them over with your vehicle. The scale of the threat is completely asymmetric.

I only wish that every driver who threatened a civilian cyclist was given as much attention.

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

So slapping the car is so threatening that a driver is justified in (allegedly) retaliating and driving over the guys bike ? Turn the tables, where the car “slaps” the bicyclist. The threatened bike rider is now justified and can hit, scratch and do the boogaloo on the hood of the offending car?? I believe the car driver needs to drive away and not escalate the response. Or a simple, “sorry” can go a long way.

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  deborah

Great, let’s do it more and then maybe people will start to comprehend that the roads aren’t safe, and that the actions of others actually DO affect them. (Note: I am not saying to actually damage the vehicle)

This is eventually all going to come to a head. These incidents are increasing in cities all over the country as the number of cyclists increase and as the roads get more crowded.

Frankly, I think putting any safety equipment in a car was a mistake – it’s the automotive equivalent of Jevon’s Paradox. If motorists perceived there was a danger, they would drive safer, but since there are few consequences for driving recklessly, many people do.

Daniel Porter
Daniel Porter
11 years ago
Reply to  deborah

Deborah,
How about how a cyclist feels that gets buzzed from within the tunnels on Lovejoy/Cornell. When that happens to me I feel threatened (and my most prized possession at risk; MY LIFE). I’m a normally benign person, but when this exact same thing happened to me, I went after the driver as well. I was angry, scared, etc. Luckily I came to my senses after spewing a few choice words and no one was ultimately harmed, but come on…

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago

That’s not a bad idea. There’s quite a few that already do!

Kenji Sugahara
11 years ago

Oh my. Gordon, now I understand. You’re married to this guy’s daughter- and you’re a cyclist too. Ugh. This is ugly.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Kenji Sugahara

It’s not ugly for me, Kenji. I had nothing to do with it. I don’t even live in the same state. And believe me when I say I am in way more support of cyclists than I am drivers when it comes to sharing the roads, as we all know who wins when it’s car vs bike.

This situation is only ugly for the family, because the whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion, and has been made to be something that it never really was. And now the media had taken it and made it even worse….. that is the only reason I have spoken up her at all, because I saw that the story being told is false, and everyone seems to be out for Mr. Fornshell without even caring to know all of the details or facts first.

Believe me, as a cyclist myself…. I would be first to go right to the cyclists side and show my support… but, I got first hand knowledge and report of the actaul events and what happened, which has since changed my outlook on this particular case.

Matt D'Elia
Matt D'Elia
11 years ago

actually you don’t.. you weren’t there as there were no witnesses. What you got was second hand knowledge from someone who was involved in this case. Personal bias.

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
11 years ago

Ugh, I can’t believe you’ve been wasting our time, playing these stupid games without simply disclosing your relationship to the affected party. People would take you more seriously if you’re HONEST.

Marid
Marid
11 years ago

Can we stop blaming the victim here?

craig
craig
11 years ago
Reply to  Marid

And who would the victim be, exactly?

J_R
J_R
11 years ago

I hope this gets prominent coverage in the general media. Maybe the Sergeant’s actions will make some of road ragers worry that the next cyclist he chooses to intimidate is a cop. And maybe it will make more in the PPB believe it when a cyclist complains of deliberate, unprovoked assault by motor vehicle.

Scott McElhiney
Scott McElhiney
11 years ago

http://www.meetup.com/Rubber2theroad/members/13137352/

Gordon, this you? Telling us that the truth is out there from way up in Bellingham WA? You have better info than the cop that was attacked using your vantage point up by the Canadian border? You need to come clean and tell us what you know… was there a second gunman?

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago

Yes, Scott…. that is me! 🙂 300 miles north of you. And for the record, I have come clean…. I did tell you what I know…. weird, though, I don’t recall this story being about any gunmen at all.

Scott McElhiney
Scott McElhiney
11 years ago

I’d say that in many cases the cyclist doesn’t report the assault because it’s too common along with the negative experiences “well, you know it’s dangerous riding a bike in traffic, your should consider yourself lucky you weren’t killed!”. Before I learned proper lane positioning (and stopped filtering up on the right), I would experience several close shaves, yells and things tossed out the window a DAY on my 26 mile round trip commute… all with me trying to be a nice guy riding as far to the right as I could. Moved into the lane and the incidents lowered to a couple of idiots honking a month… but the close calls went away almost completely. I’ve had drivers try to run me off the road and caught up to give them my mind… both politely and in anger. Neither one seems to be of use, probably because the driver is the one now in fight or flight mode because we caught up with them.

Mike
Mike
11 years ago

Would it make a difference if that cop was wearing skinny jeans and riding a fixie? Kind of like asking if a tree fell in the forest while no one was around.

Bjorn
Bjorn
11 years ago

This guy looks like a guy who intentionally caused me to hit his car (he passed me cut in right in front of me and slammed on the brakes) on fremont 3-4 years ago. He then got out of his car and chased me around it until he realized I was on the phone with 911 while shouting at me that I should be on the sidewalk. Out of curiosity does anyone know if this person was driving a black Volvo sedan? Looking at the photo I actually think it might be the same guy. I waited for 1 hour for the cops to show, they did not, and I got too cold to wait any longer. I then tried 3 times over the next week to file a report, they would not take it because I was not injured. (Word to the wise if you are in a collision with a car that is bad enough to call the cops the correct answer to the are you injured question is either “Yes” or “I think so”. You can always change your mind later, but they will not do anything if you aren’t hurt.)

Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn

Doesn’t sound like it was a Volvo sedan from what the Oregonian article says:

“He said he was riding along when a person in a SUV to the left of him came within inches of hitting him while passing him,” Sheffer said. “It really freaked him out.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/03/the_wrong_portland_biker_rider.html

Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn
Tiffany
11 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn

I checked the same thing out. He looks like a guy that tried to run me down in a red GMC in 2009, in the same neighborhood and on 25th and Vaughn. But either KGW or the Oregonian reported him having a silver SUV. It could just be that this horrible little angry man is representative of everyone who does this.

Jeff
Jeff
11 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn

Bjorn..I know man, I swear I’ve had a confrontation with this guy before. Some years ago…face looks really familiar… I just can’t place it.

Tourbiker
11 years ago

I don’t mean to hijack this thread but….

Is It me or does KATU (chan2) here in PDX have a problem with cyclists?
This story as they report in the headline doesn’t even mention a bike. just “Police: Man tried to run over a cop”. comments section seems filled with bike haters.

Sorry it had to happen to anyone let alone a cop. Happens more than I’m sure most cops even realize.
I even have come to expect it out on a tour.

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago
Reply to  Tourbiker

My belief here, based on what I know of this, is that if the cyclist hadn’t been a police officer, this story wouldn’t be anything right now. There was no bodily harm done to either person, and had this been any one of us it happened to, we wouldn’t be talking about it here right now…. sad, but true!

She
She
11 years ago

I do not get why “no bodily harm” matters, the guy has a bent bike. Yes, we do not know what happened but really neither do you. I could see a guy not fessing up if his family are bike riders, he may be embarrassed, or remorseful (which really is good) but for Gordon to say there is more to the story, he really knows NO more than we do.

Bjorn
Bjorn
11 years ago

I don’t think that it is a great thing that in most cases someone can hit and run a cyclist, damage the bike but not the person and get away with it. You may be right that your brother in law would not have been arrested if he had intentionally hit a civilian instead of a cop, but that doesn’t make the fact that he used his car as a weapon any less awful.

Jeff
Jeff
11 years ago

gordon, are you f*cking serious? your family member hit and run a human being. a human being. he reversed his car to make sure that it occurred. why do you continually want to condone that behavior or protect your family member? if you, as a cyclist, were even hit….would you want the driver to leave you there with no accountability?

Andrew
Andrew
11 years ago
Reply to  Tourbiker

Don’t ever watch KATU. Yes, they do have a problem with cyclists. They’d even go so far as to set up a reporter in a chair on the SE Holgate buffered bike lanes to “prove” no one uses the lane.

Disgusting ratings-driven “journalism.”

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
11 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Wandering further down the rabbit trail: surprisingly, FOX 12 (KPTV) has seemed to be one of the most bike-friendly broadcast stations in the area. I have even seen them run PSAs with Mark Nelson (their weather guy, who must ride a lot) about sharing the road with cyclists. They’ve even had a bike commute weather forecast on occasion.

CaptainKarma
CaptainKarma
11 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

You should not watch ANY tv.

Steve B
11 years ago

Anytime an incident like this happens, it’s unfortunate. This is a real person folks, and it totally sucks that this happened to him.

As Ted mentions above, having enforcement officers out there commuting to work on bike helps bring a whole new level of firsthand experiences to police culture.

Sorry this happened to you, Sergeant Santos. I hope we can start making stories like this obsolete, hang in there.

Michaelk42
Michaelk42
11 years ago
Reply to  Steve B

I don’t think anyone’s glad this happened to a police officer; I think people are justifiably upset that it’s suddenly an actionable offense to other police officers when it happens to one of their own.

estebancycle
estebancycle
11 years ago

I’m not from Portland and I’m new to bicycling (been commuting to work for 2 months) so please educate me… why would a bike pass a car on the right at a traffic signal?

Chad
Chad
11 years ago
Reply to  estebancycle

Why would a car pass a bike on the left, at a traffic signal or otherwise? So many folks get bent out of shape about bikes Lane-splitting and passing on the right, but never think twice about cars lane splitting on the left.
That being said, when I come up to a traffic signal on my bike, I take my spot in the lane, behind the car ahead of me. It’s just safer that way.

Over and Doubt
Over and Doubt
11 years ago
Reply to  estebancycle

Not saying this is the case in this incident, but for instance: You’re in the bike lane, going straight through the intersection. Bike lane is alongside the main lanes, of course, and continues after the intersection; may even be dotted-line striped through the intersection. The markings therefore justify you continuing through on the right, but you gotta anticipate the right hook from those who don’t signal.

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
11 years ago
Reply to  estebancycle

It is something that needs to be done in a considered manner. It depends on the street and the traffic and the bike facilities or lack there of. The main caution is that you have to watch out for the first 2 or 3 cars possibly turning right.

Sometimes passing on the right at a stop light is justified or at least acceptable. First if you have a bike lane, you proceed to the intersection in the bike lane alongside the cars. If there is no bike lane but a wide shoulder and you carefully look for right turning vehicles its acceptable and if the line of cars is long enough that’d you likely have to miss the light then it’s justified (IMO). If the shoulder is narrow, the line is only 2 or 3 cars, and/or most of the cars are turning right it”s better IMO to take the lane when you come to the line of cars and proceed with traffic.

It is somewhat obnoxious to re-pass vehicles on the right at lights when they’ve already passed you and the roadway is narrow requiriing bikes and cars to share the same lane. Yet sometimes I do it if I feel the driver was unreasonably imaptient in passing me – just to prove he needn’t be in a such a hury. This is primarily on roads where I am riding very close to the speed of traffic.

jonathan
jonathan
11 years ago

If someone pulls a knife on me but I have an AK-47 to pull out, does the fact that I was first threatened give me a right to retaliate? Vigilante justice is seldom justified. The driver can always drive away. Civilized society is damaged whenever anyone acts out in violence. Portland condones vigilantes. I never felt safe living there.

Dave
Dave
11 years ago

Nick V
Poetic justice that the guy he tried to run down happened to be an officer. Throw the book at ‘im and I’m glad the cop is okay.

My sentiments exactly!

Gordon Neitling
Gordon Neitling
11 years ago

I apologize, but I have been asked politely to refrain from any further postings or comments regarding this situation. If anyone woule like, you may contact Jim McIntyre, attorney, who is handling htis case. I am sorry, but I do not have contact information for him.

Be safe out there! I do pretty well up here in my neck of the woods, just south of the Canadian border… but it is mostly rural farm lands where I ride…. tractors and dogs seem to be my primary nemesis.

I love riding down in the Portland/westside areas, primarily out around Hillsboro and North Plains, etc.

I will be down to ride in the Petal Pedal, and the Portland Century, and the tour de Cure, and then the Harvest Century this year. 🙂

Take care one and all….

Steve Brown
11 years ago

If there was ever a story to galvanize a community this is it. At the risk of over simplification, show a weapon at a cop, your dead. Run over a cyclist. it is the riders fault for not getting out of the way. The only way this story gets better is the cop shoots the driver. Time for all of us to review our behavior on the road and PPB and all of law enforcement to get serious about cars v bikes. When I got right hooked in a bike lane, one of the first things the West Linn officer asked me was how fast I was riding. Flattering a sprinter by complimenting his top end is always a good way to start a conversation, but this guy was serious. It told me everything I needed to know about the status of bikes v cars in West Linn. Regardless of what the outcome of this with regard to the two individuals involved, it would be great if this served as the basis of a better understanding of all law enforcement of the situation almost all riders face everyday.

Brad
Brad
11 years ago

Gordon –

Five minutes spent searching on Google last evening establishes that you are related to Mr. Fonshell thus, your “first hand knowledge” is tainted with obvious bias and is no more reliable that the media accounts that you claim are slanted. You also state in an earlier post that you can’t discuss this matter further due to legal reasons and yet, you persist in a one man P.R. campaign on behalf of a family member without disclosing your connection to alleged perpetrator. You may also be an avid cyclist but that hardly matters. It is just a cheap attempt to establish credibility and to curry favor with other cyclists on this blog.

This is now a matter for the courts to decide and there may be witnesses to corroborate or conflict the accounts of both Mr. Fonshell and Mr. Santos. Right now, the facts as reported are all we have to go on. Going on a popular bike blog to coyly accuse the alleged victim of lying and the local media of willfully distorting facts in the alleged victim’s favor is not helping your kin’s defense.

Mark
Mark
11 years ago
Reply to  Brad

I think for every time there is car versus bike incident, emotions run high for all of us who bicycle are more vulnerable to the anger of a car driver. We can rant about the wrongness of this particular driver but I suspect this is trigger for all of us who feel the danger of vehicular encounters AND the general lack of justice from the police.

TonyT
tonyt
11 years ago

I’d like to know what kind of car this guy was driving and his plate #. I had an altercation a number of years ago with a driver who looked a lot like this guy. We had a long and quite animated conversation.

I remember the car and some of the license number. Just curious if he finally got his comeuppance.