Special gravel coverage

Man arrested after pepper spraying riders on Sauvie Island

Posted by on January 6th, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Kenneth Tester
(Photo: Mult. Co. Sheriff)

Members of a local cycling team were pepper sprayed by a man in the parking lot of a store on Sauvie Island this afternoon. The incident was reported on the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association email list by David Root, road team director for the Therapeutic Associates Cycling team.

Root says that he and other members of the team had just finished a motor-pacing session when they pulled into the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel Grocery Store near the Sauvie Island Bridge when a man driving a Ford F150 pick-up attempted to back out of the store. “When we pulled past him he rolled down his window and asked why we were staring at him and we told him that we’re just trying get past him and that we weren’t staring,” wrote Root. “He then continued to back out and clipped our moto driver Jon [Pearson] and then proceeded to try and start a altercation with Jon.”

Then, according to Root, the man in the pickup threatened Pearson and, “Then quickly as if he had it cocked and ready to go, pulled out the most powerful Police grade Pepper Spray and shot him at close range “full discharge” in the eyes and face and some of the rest of us got a little too.”

The man driving the pickup then threatened other riders before driving off. Root took note of the license plate number and called 911 immediately. He reported that the police and emergency responders showed up quickly to administer first aid. The man driving the truck was found and arrested shortly thereafter. Pearson, who suffered the brunt of the pepper spray, is “doing much better” Root says.

According to Root, the man was acting belligerent and “was looking for trouble.” After the incident, members of a duck hunting club on Sauvie Island approached the riders and said they were sorry for what happened and that the man was no longer welcome at their club (turns out they were a bit concerned about his behavior themselves).

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department has identified the man as 68-year-old Kenneth Tester. He has been charged with felony assault, disorderly conduct, and felony hit-and-run.

Here’s more from Root:

“All I can take away from this experience is that there are some really crazy people out there looking for a reason to cause harm to a cyclist or anyone for that matter and just be aware if someone is trying to provoke or start a altercation over nothing it could be a warning sign. I know many of you ride out there and some of the locals get a little miffed about all the riders, luckily this guy isn’t a local and probably won’t be back anytime soon.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office booking information, Tester has been released. If you happen to see a late 2000s, white, Ford F150 with license plate of 220ESF, steer clear. We’ll keep you posted with any other information on this case.

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  • Rol January 7, 2013 at 12:11 am

    The only thing more strange & sad than this, is when Michael Richards yelled “n—–” on stage.

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    • Daves_not_here January 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Offensive speech is worse than spraying someone in the eyes with pepper spray? What an upside-down culture we live in.

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    • pengo January 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm


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  • Ben4345 January 7, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Please refrain from using the phrase “police grade”. That is sensationalizing and and we shouldn’t step down to NBC,CBS,ABC tactics.

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    • q`Tzal January 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      The strongest pepper spray products are marketed by the majority of manufacturers and resellers as “POLICE GRADE!!!”
      It might be sensational but that is the terminology used.

      Good thing it wasn’t bear pepper spray.

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  • dwainedibbly January 7, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Duck hunting club? I wonder if he had firearms in the truck. Hopefully he isn’t allowed to plea bargain down to a “no jail time” sentence.

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    • Chris I January 7, 2013 at 6:45 am

      Ideally, he would have his right to own firearms suspended for some period of time. That probably won’t happen, though…

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      • Mark January 7, 2013 at 9:25 am

        If he’s convicted of a felony, he won’t own any firearms, ever.

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        • Brian January 7, 2013 at 10:18 am


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          • Mark January 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm

            Right. I forgot to clarify.

            Makes me think of all the people that have their driver license suspended, but drive anyway. The difference is that if they catch a felon with a firearm, it is confiscated, and the offender is charged with yet another felony. It should be the same with a motor vehicle.

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    • wileysiren January 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

      so this is the sort of precursor behavior that should lend to a review of this man’s firearm’s posession status, right? if he has no qualms about running into people with a truck or pepper spraying folks, who’s to say using a gun isn’t outside his realm of reasoning as well… ugh.

      glad to hear that he’s cooling off somewhere in the meantime though…

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      • K'Tesh January 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        Would be better if he was cooling off in the cooler though

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  • velo January 7, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Sounds like someone who could use some jail time for an unprovoked assault. I hope this case is brought to trial and he goes to jail. I feel like given that a motor vehicle is involved revoking his license and impounding his truck is in order, but maybe that’s just me.

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    • Scott January 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

      I am more with Karstan on this one. The defiant look on his face makes me think that he still feels he was in the right. Mental illness can take many forms and I think any extended jail time will only reinforce his attitude towards cyclists. Taking his car away is going to be fuel on the fire. He needs to be helped. Punishment does not help someone with anger issues.

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      • q`Tzal January 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

        Senility can set in at an early stage. Because of a history of strokes my mother had intermediate dementia with Alzheimer’s aspect by 59.
        She was timid by nature so the odd bouts of violent rage that cropped up without rational warning were unexpected and entirely out of character.

        Perhaps this man’s behavior is an indication that he needs a mental health checkup.

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  • Karstan January 7, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Sounds to me like this guy is mentally ill and needs help.

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  • Andrew K January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    oh my goodness! Thank you for the report.

    I actually encountered this group of cyclists on Sunday at Sauvie Island myself. I was there with my Pug enjoying the cold air and a few of them stopped for a bathroom break and gave my dog a friendly scratch behind the ear (much to the happiness of my little pal).

    This incident must have happened less than an hour later.

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  • Joe January 7, 2013 at 11:03 am

    wonder if he is friends with Mr.F 1TON huge truck mirrors that brushed me at hwy speed, I was not over the white line BTW

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  • dmc January 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    The last time I was at Sauvie Island a huge red pickup truck came barreling down the road at speeds far exceeding other traffic (65 mph+). I was on the shoulder of the road and the truck passed very close to me although there wasn’t a car in sight. They were trying to scare me and they succeeded….. :\

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  • Albert January 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    This guy seems more dangerous than the “hipster” bandit, who’s still locked up.

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  • bh January 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    From KGW – he was already arrested for pepper spraying someone else in a previous case:

    “In a previous case, Tester was accused of pepper-spraying another driver in Troutdale in a road rage incident.

    The victim in that case said a driver cut him off with his pickup truck and so he honked at him. Then he said the driver motioned for him to pull over, sprayed him in the face and drove off.

    The victim said his eyes started burning instantly and when he tried to wash them out, the pain got worse. He filed assault charges with police. The license plate on the pickup truck led police to Tester, who later pleaded guilty to the charges.”

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  • Andyc of Linnton January 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Lame. Some people are obviously just cracked for whatever reason. Sucks physical violence had to be involved, but at least everyone is now okay.
    In light of this event I insist that we get a cycle track on Dirty 30, and shoulders/bike lanes on Sauvie Island (I know, off-topic and not very relevant, but maybe if I just keep saying it and writing it enough, it’ll one day happen…sigh).

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  • Opus the Poet January 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Anyone that thinks a mental health issue will be dealt with in jail or prison has a mental health issue of their own.

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    • q`Tzal January 8, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      “Have we no workhouses? Have we no prisons? Mr. Marley here’d like a word with you-he’s the fellow in the chains… ignore the moans. It’s just gas.”

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  • Occassional rider January 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm


    I am glad this nut got cuffed.

    That said, I also encountered this motor-paced, double line, pelaton on Sunday minutes before the incident. I gotta tell you racers, blocking the entire lane on a 45mph road, while you’re cycling at ~20mph, and not then not moving to the right as far as practical as required by law to let overtaking vehicles pass, is simply RUDE behavior that gives a black-eye to all cyclists and stokes the animosity.

    These are public roads on Sauvie Island, not a private track.

    Keep right. Is it really that difficult?

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    • chucklehead January 8, 2013 at 11:46 am

      I am waiting for the people to rationalize this 🙂

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    • Psyfalcon January 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Well, are motor scooter actually required to keep right?

      The road is narrow with no shoulders for most of it, but passing is allowed. I can see why they’d not want to squeeze right if there wasn’t room for a same lane pass (there isn’t). We do talk about taking the lane a lot here.

      The cyclists may, or may have been legally required to move over. Maybe they should have even if not required. Still not an excuse to pepper spray someone if they violate a traffic law.

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    • Sbrock January 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Yes they are Public roads. Pretty sure thats why bikes can be found there.

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  • R-dat January 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Best punishment for this guy – lose his driver’s license for life and have to bike everywhere… maybe after a few months in jail!

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  • Duncan January 8, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Whatever the offense of the bikers, unless they were actively threatening the motorist using pepper spray on them was um… Uncalled for to say the least. Motorists do shit that piss me off every day (whether I am driving, biking or cycling) and I have thus far survived the temptation to respond with violence. Had the motorist called the police and left it at that he would not now be facing felony charges, just saying.

    Also sounds like he did this before and got away with it (Oregonian says charges from previous assault dropped). Too bad he didn’t learn from his previous close call.

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    • Scott January 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Maybe he learned that the charges get dropped.

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      • Duncan January 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm

        He walked away free last time, I have had plenty of vclose calls in my life and the first question I ask myself on the other side is not “how did I get away with that” but “how do I not end up that close again.” … S far it’s worked for me.

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    • lyle w. January 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      Sociopathic rage-a-holics can’t learn from their previous run-ins, that’s the problem here.

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  • stephry January 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I really dislike herds of anything on the roads

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    • januhhh January 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Me too, but it’s usually alright unless they are herds of motorists in cars.

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  • jim January 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

    We have heard one side of the story and have condemned this guy allready. I would like to hear his side of the story. Did he act in self defense? Was he threatened? Why did he pull the police over and them back to the location? Was he lucky to get away from the scene unharmed?
    I will probably get deleted here as usual. I just want to hear the other side of the story before I condemn this guy. If he is guilty, throw the book at him. If it was self defense, let it go.

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    • Chris I January 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      “The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department has identified the man as 68-year-old Kenneth Tester. He has been charged with felony assault, disorderly conduct, and felony hit-and-run.”

      You might want to talk to his defense lawyer if you want the other side.

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      • rain bike January 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        And has this been a guy on a bike spraying a guy in a truck?…Let me guess. Diagnose him as mentally ill, suspect that he might have used his 6 inch crescent wrench to harm someone, take away his bike and his tools and lock him up? Or might there have been another side of the story?

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      • jim January 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        If I was in an altercation and was afraid for my safety, I would try and get away also. Backing into the guys bike while trying to get yourself to safety is consequential. He may have been quite lucky to get away unharmed as it seams they were bunching up around him while he was trying to get away.
        He was the one that flagged the police down and directed them back to the store.

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  • Joe January 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Elmer Fudd got busted

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  • jim January 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Just wait, you’ll be there before you know it.

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  • lyle w. January 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Felony assault and felony hit and run and he’s already free? Thanks Multco. DA! What a great message to send.

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