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The Oregonian: Skibowl owner Kirk Hanna gives $500,000 to hit-and-run victim

Posted by on June 21st, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Kirk Hanna.
(Photo: Multnomah County)

Yesterday, The Oregonian published a detailed update on the story we shared last month regarding a settlement being reached in the case of a serious hit-and-run that occurred in May 2010 and involved the owner of the Mt. Hood Skibowl, Kirk Hanna, and a Lake Oswego resident named Robert Skof.

Here’s the lede from The Oregonian:

“Two years after Mt. Hood Skibowl owner Kirk Hanna struck a bicyclist — then sped off, leaving the man sprawled unconscious on a Southwest Portland road — Hanna has agreed to pay his victim $500,000.

The case is unusual not because Hanna left the scene — dozens of Portland area motorists do that every year under similar circumstances — but because he eventually agreed to plead guilty to DUII and hit-and-run driving.”

I’m happy to hear that Skof is back on his bike. Hanna’s payment should help both men sleep a bit easier at night.

It seems hit-and-runs are in the news a lot more these days. There’s a growing feeling among activists — and among families of victims — that the time has come to pass new and stronger laws and begin to shift the culture around this reprehensible crime.

The Oregonian quotes Skof’s attorney Sean DuBois as saying this case illustrates the problems:

The penalties are far too light for drivers — often drunk — who hit people and then flee, he said. By the time police catch up to them, any evidence that could have been collected in a blood-alcohol sample is gone.

On a related note, I’ve noticed several mountain bike events on the calendar taking place at Skibowl. There’s the 6 Hours of Mt. Hood coming up on July 1st and the the NW Cup that wrapped up this past weekend. When I heard about events being held there, my first thought was about Kirk Hanna and what he did on May 23rd, 2010. I wonder if other people think about that when they go to Skibowl.

For more details about this case, read The Oregonian article and browse our “Kirk Hanna” story tag.

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Caroline
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Caroline

When I think about the Skibowl I think about how much darn litter there is on the sides of the highways East of Albany, presumably “sponsored” by Skibowl. Not great advertisement!

SilkySlim
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I am really glad this information is finally public. There are several purposes to our criminal system: to punish the bad, protect the good, and deter future baddies. A secret out of court settlement doesn’t really fulfill all of the above, but a major hit in the wallet reported in the news has a semblance of justice.

Joshua
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Joshua

Money doesn’t buy justice. I will never go to the Skibowl again.

Bjorn
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Bjorn

I don’t think about Hanna when I go to Skibowl because I don’t go there anymore. I had a season pass in 2009-2010, but haven’t been back since.

Pete
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Pete

“…the time has come to pass new and stronger laws and begin to shift the culture around this reprehensible crime.”

Do we really believe stronger punishment will encourage more accountability, or would it provide a more intimidating incentive to flee the scene?

9watts
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9watts

“The case is unusual not because Hanna left the scene — dozens of Portland area motorists do that every year under similar circumstances.”

I didn’t want folks to miss that swipe. We here know this, of course, but I wonder if this is common for the Oregonian to be so blunt about drivers’ irresponsibility?

oskarbaanks
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oskarbaanks

Skof says Hanna was “lucky” to hit him, due to his physical strength saving him from further injury. Skof is lucky to be hit by Hanna, a rich drunk driver. Perhaps Mr. Hanna could somehow become a local voice for drunk driving awareness. That could go a long way towards repairing the public’s perception of Mr. Hanna and is business.

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

“Think about it when they go to Ski Bowl”? Not a problem. I’m never going there. Any time I hear someone mention the place I make sure to tell them why I won’t go.

Mindful Cyclist
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Mindful Cyclist

I would be completely in favor of passing a law that states if you hit and run, you are guilty of driving under the influence. But, really don’t think that would hold.

resopmok
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resopmok

I think Oregon, and most states, could take a moment to review the licensing procedures that are currently far too permissive to begin with. Grading licenses for vehicle size, punishing traffic offenders with short to long-term suspensions based on the number and seriousness of violations and requiring drivers to prove their competency behind the wheel more than once in their life would all be steps forward. Insurance companies can’t provide the financial incentive necessary because ultimately, the more drivers are on the road, the more money they make (and even more so with bad drivers whose rates are higher).

I don’t think a heavier punishment for hit and run will do much to prevent this crime of the moment. I would hazard to say most H+R are not premeditated, so the decision to flee the scene happens very much in the moment of the accident when probably the only question in the criminal’s mind is whether they think they will be caught or not. If we can prevent more bad and irresponsible drivers from taking to the streets in the first place, through stricter licensure, then perhaps we can reduce the total amount of accidents to begin with.

K'Tesh
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K'Tesh

I’d like to see a law that would make the punishment for Hit and Run equal to or more than DUI to eliminate the loop hole that allows drivers to sober up, lawyer up, and get off with a slap on the wrist.

Kristi Finney-Dunn
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Kristi Finney-Dunn

I myself believe that people who leave another human being dead or seriously injured on the road leave because THEY KNOW they were doing something illegal and they don’t want to be caught for that. So I’m all for hit-and-run penalties that carry a presumption of guilt of some other crime (this is the way I think of it in my head, not necessarily how it might be legally presented).

Some people get away entirely with hit-and-run. But not everyone. Some are caught right away (like Ashawntae Rosemon) and some turn themselves in later (like Art Pavlenko), but why should two almost identical situations (Dustin Finney and Miky Vu both were killed while riding in bike lanes at 1:00 a.m.) result in such different consequences for the people responsible? Pavlenko had the advantage of giving himself time to sober up so he received 18 months for Hit-and-Run only, while Rosemon received 5 years for Criminally Negligent Homicide because he didn’t have time to sober up first. Is it really fair to the Vu family that the person who killed their 18 year old son was not even convicted of killing anyone? I don’t think so.

The Finney and Vu families are two who are actively working to change the laws. We welcome any other families or friends of hit-and-run victims – or anyone, for that matter – to work with us. The more of us, the louder our voice.

John Landolfe
Guest

People are in jail for selling weed but rich guys can make a series of choices that nearly kills another human, leaves the human on the side of the road to die alone, and then buy off the consequences.