New Year’s Day hit-and-run victim still looking for suspect

Roger Peet.
(Photos courtesy Roger Peet)

36-year old Concordia neighborhood resident and artist Roger Peet got a rough start to 2012. Just about two hours into the new year he was the victim of a hit-and-run in North Portland that ruined his bike, broke his collarbone, and left him with a mountain of medical bills from his hospital visit.

Peet’s girlfriend Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, a 29-year old research student at Portland State University studying urban planning and transportation, got in touch with us to tell his story; in part because she just wanted others to know about it, but also because the alleged assailant is still on the loose.

Peet painted the Citybikes mural this past summer.

According to Doherty-Chapman, she and Peet, along with another friend, were riding eastbound on N Rosa Parks Way that morning. After crossing Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd (map) the group was riding in the street (it’s a small, residential street without a bike lane) when Peet was hit from behind by a minivan. Doherty-Chapman was behind Peet when it happened.

“There was no real incident prior to this, I recall them honking (for no apparent reason) just before the signal at MLK,” Doherty-Chapman remembered in an email. She continued:

“Then I think our friend flipped them the bird and then bam, Roger is on the ground and the minivan is speeding away one block later… I believe the driver was drunk and was intending to scare us by buzzing us real close.”

Doherty-Chapman said there was no other traffic and everyone in the group had lights on their bike and they were riding legally.

One of the riders gave chase, but the minivan sped away before they could make out its license plate. The only evidence they do have is that it was a light-colored, newer model mini-van.

The police responded and took a report (Doherty-Chapman said they were “courteous and professional”) but the lack of evidence doesn’t offer much hope they’ll ever find the suspect.

Portland Police Bureau hit-and-run specialist Sergeant Todd Davis is aware of the case. He told me today that he hates having to suspend hit-and-run cases — especially when vulnerable road users are involved — but with “limited investigative resources” he doesn’t plan to assign an officer for follow-up. “Should any new information become available regarding a suspect or suspect vehicle,” says Sgt. Davis, “I will gladly re-open the investigation.”

“We’ve been so inundated with hit and runs lately,” he added, “that I’ve been working them on the side on top of my other duties.”

While Doherty-Chapman and Peet (who’s “healing up just fine” by the way) both assume the suspect and vehicle won’t be found, “obviously we would be very relieved if they were.”

In an interesting twist, many of you might be familiar with Mr. Peet’s work — he recently finished up painting the new mural at Citybikes Annex on SE 8th. He had just gotten his bicycle back from getting tuned up by them less than a week before this incident.

We hope Roger get’s back his bike very soon. If you can chip in a few bucks, there’s a page set up that accepts donations.

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John Lascurettes
10 years ago

“We’ve been so inundated with hit and runs lately,” he added, “that I’ve been working them on the side on top of my other duties.”

Sounds like PPD needs to shuffle around some staffing priorities then.

I hope they get a lead on the case and that Roger heals up well.

Also, just a word of general advice. Don’t be antagonistic to the already antagonistic bull when you’re in a vulnerable place (namely, directly in front of it and with your back to it).

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

You lay there and take it. I prefer to let my thoughts be known and am prepared for the consequences.

lyle
lyle
10 years ago

Easier said than done. I’ve had a huge uptick in close-calls in the last few weeks (if I had to guess, due to how the holidays wig everybody out), and my middle finger has been getting a mighty good workout.

I’d agree with you about not antagonizing already unstable and irrational people, but the only thing is, the finger is already up and at full mast before my brain can even process what I’m doing.

Gee, how did that get there?

Pete (not Peet :)
Pete (not Peet :)
10 years ago
Reply to  lyle

True dat! Much as I agree with John mine came off braking hard to fly into the rearview mirror of a close left turner recently.

Holidays fo sure, and I’ve also gotten into practice of noting full moon periods. My friends in emergency care can vouch for the strange effect it has on people so I take no chances. (My two memorable incidents have been under them, coincidentally). Call it what you wish…

Hope you’re back on the road soon Roger!

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
10 years ago

its not a bull. its a human being in a vehicle. (the bull metaphor is just scare mongering.)

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
10 years ago

Question to PPD:
If one of the riders had a helmet video camera that caught the van hitting the victim could the video imagery be used in prosecution?
What if the video only caught the van as it sped away but not the actual crime?
Either way the human witnesses can verify the crime so will a video camera have any effect in a court case?

As expensive as they are now the price, size and durability of mobile “sport” video cameras will make them ubiquitous soon enough.
It would be nice to know if we can use that video to “scare straight” them many dangerous drivers out there.

John Lascurettes
10 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

But the witnesses cannot make a positive ID without a plate number. Or unless they happen to spot a “light-colored, newer model mini-van” with paint scrapes and damage in the right places – but that’s a pretty wide open description to be canvasing for. Even if they had the model and trim of the vehicle, and specific color, then that would help. Otherwise, I have to side with PPD on this. Unless someone else offers a tip about a van they see with suspicious looking damage that matches this van’s description, there’s not a lot they can do.

JRB
JRB
10 years ago

Helmet cams could certainly help identify vehicles, but that doesn’t do much in a criminal case unless you can also identify the driver. I don’t practice personal injury, but I think identifying the vehicle should be enough to at least initiate a civil suit against the owner.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
10 years ago
Reply to  JRB

It’s confusing:
I’m stridently anti Big Brother
But
I believe that the same power of surveillance is not evil when left in the hands of the individual.

Evolution favored our species as our intelligence helped to cement our might. Thus in the beginning, and through the bulk of our chronological history, Might made Right.
As we became aware of the suffering of the individual that was weak against a stronger majority’s wrath we transitioned to a society of Laws. Perhaps might still makes right but we currently use the might of laws instead of arms.
We are fast approaching a critical juncture where information alone can be used as a tool, above and beyond laws, to enforce fairness and facilitate empathy.

But video cameras still cause a gut reaction of invaded privacy in me and others; even in public where I know I have no privacy.
I have to resist picking my nose at the camera:)

Spiffy
Spiffy
10 years ago

a sad reminder that small people command large vehicles…

Deeeebo
Deeeebo
10 years ago

Did this happen on NYE 2011 and he was in the hospital for 6 weeks or did it happen NYE 2012 (ie 10 days ago) and he was in the hospital for 6 days?
The dates/ time reported aren’t really going to work out so I’m guessing weeks = days.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Reply to  Deeeebo

my mistake Deeeebo. Days, not weeks. Thanks.

Neighbor Gregg
10 years ago

So this happened in the very bike friendly/ quiet/ Woodlawn Vortex, where the streets are crooked and motorists typically don’t drive through unless they know where they are going (Live Here). I just posted this story to the Woodlawn Facebook Page. Hopefully a neighbor will read this and call in information about the hit and run driver.

lyle
lyle
10 years ago

Well, if the driver was drunk (which seems highly likely considering the time/date/behavior), it’s a moot point now. Obviously can’t prove it now. Just like nobody can prove he intended to hit the guy. Just like nobody can prove that he even saw him/knew he hit someone before taking off.

And then people sit around and wonder why hit-and-runs are so common.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
10 years ago

, 5:34 pm – Sounds like his friend was the one who made the gesture but Peet took the hit, so that’s something to consider. I try to wave all my fingers and think to myself “read between the lines.”

@Neighbor Gregg, 5:40 pm – Peet’s ‘chipin.com‘ link explains that the perps veered back over to MLK to escape:

In the wee hours of January 1st, 2012, I was riding my bicycle home with two friends. At the intersection of Rosa Parks and MLK, a white minivan full of people pulled up next to us and honked. The light changed, and we went across MLK. The minivan crossed after us and swerved to hit me, connecting with my rear wheel and sending me sprawling. They then sped up, took two sharp lefts, and were gone.

Peet – Best wishes for a speedy recovery. And that Citybikes mural is wonderful!

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
10 years ago

Prayers for a full recovery, and a quick capture of the driver.

esther c
esther c
10 years ago

As the victim of an assault shouldn’t the crime victims fund take care of his hospital bills.

spokesy
spokesy
10 years ago
Reply to  esther c

My thought exactly. He shouldn’t have a bill at all. I don’t know if there’s more to this story or what, but it’s been pretty cut and dry with individuals who have experienced assault and go to the hospital. I’ve known people that have even gotten reconstructive rhinoplasty from the fund due to facial trauma… and who doesn’t want a free nose job!

Kathryn D-C
Kathryn D-C
10 years ago
Reply to  esther c

We were not aware of this fund. I will look into it right away. Thanks!

Bobcycle
Bobcycle
10 years ago

If it was a van full of people I would think a reward of some amount might motivate one of those to come forward. In addition there must b some video surveillance from a MLK business available. But again without resources to investigate probably won’t be solved.

Mark
Mark
10 years ago

So, MLK Blvd has now been relocated to North Portland? That is an amazing trick.

I believe anything on Rosa Parks Way East of Vancouver Ave is in Northeast Portland.

Mark Allyn
10 years ago

I have given up on the holidays of New Years, 4th of July, Labor Day, among others and make it a policy to be home, off the bikes, by 9 PM at the latest.

I have personally seen the worst behavior after about 8 or 9 PM on those holidays.

In fact, for this same reason, I make it a policy to be home/off the bike by 12 midnight as much as possible.

And now, I am thinking seriously in investing in a helmet camera.

Joe
Joe
10 years ago

whoa.. no way, how can someone aim a car into a person and get away so eazy? hope you all heal fast.
I had a mini van on a narrow road do this to me at night then they pulled over, I gunned it and rode past them getting away, felt something was not right.

007
007
10 years ago

If Mr. Peet has auto insurance there will be coverage of some sort for medical, property.

beth
10 years ago
Reply to  007

No one should have to carry auto insurance in order to ride a bicycle. Even suggesting the possibility — which many an attorney has done at this blog — is almost as bad as mandatory helmet laws, another way in which responsibility for automotive abuse is shifted to those who ride bicycles.

Best wishes to Roger for a speedy and complete recovery.

Mark Allyn
10 years ago

I thought that regular medical insurance (for those of us fortunate to have it) also covers medical costs from an accident. In this case, the insurance company may go after the driver (if they are found).

Mark Allyn
10 years ago

Perhaps this is a call for use to start considering using helmet cameras that are on all the time recording in a loop; stopping when there is an accident. At least this way there *may* be a chance of getting the vehicle ID’s during review of the video.

I know this is an added expense, but we do have to protect ourselves.

Jen
Jen
10 years ago

Drivers get away with a lot when it comes to accidents with bicycles and the “limited investigative resources.” When I was doored last year, the police didn’t even ask the driver of the car for her license and insurance. Later, my lawyer found out that she had neither. I didn’t get any money for medical bills or to fix my bike. The driver got away with it. Not only that, immediately after being hit, I yelled at the driver for being so careless. She admitted to not looking, but the driver and a few witnesses yelled at me for yelling at the driver!?!? I was flat on the sidewalk with my bike on top of me. Bruises all over one side of my body and I thought I had broken ribs and I was getting a lecture for not handling it well.