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Careless Driving citation for truck operator who right-hooked teenager on SE 7th

Posted by on September 16th, 2013 at 1:31 pm

SE 7th and Taylor

A car turns right onto SE Taylor from
SE 7th where a tow truck operator right-hooked a
bicycle rider last month.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Police have cited the tow truck operator who drove his vehicle into a 16-year-old who was bicycling on SE 7th last month. 64-year-old Richard Tombleson was cited for Careless Driving Causing Serious Injury to a Vulnerable Road User. Tombleson was on duty and driving for Speed’s Towing when the collision occurred.

According to the PPB, Tombleson was driving southbound on SE 7th when he turned right onto Taylor. The teenager on a bicycle was also heading south on 7th and he was right-hooked by Tombleson. Tombleson didn’t stop after the collision but he and his truck were found by the PPB shortly after the collision. The 16-year-old sustained “traumatic but not life-threatening injuries” and was taken to the hospital and listed in serious condition.

Even though Tombleson was cited for Careless Driving/VRU, he wasn’t charged with any hit-and-run crimes. PPB spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said the collision was initially investigated as as hit-and-run but that, “After consultation with the District Attorney and family [of the victim] no hit and run charges were issued.”

The section of SE 7th where the 16-year-old was hit has a bike lane and it’s a relatively busy and chaotic thoroughfare. The cross section includes two auto parking lanes, standard-width bike lanes and vehicle lanes in both directions, and a center turn lane. SE 7th is one of the only north-south bike paths on the entire central eastside.

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9watts
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9watts

I wonder what is up with scrapping the hit and run charge? I don’t know how much it matters since he was cited for Careless Driving (are we making progress on that front? it almost seems so).

Kittens
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Kittens

Why are we letting victims help decide what crimes perpetrators are charged with? What about equal protection under the law?

Granpa
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Granpa

Or the generosity of the settlement encouraged the family to petition for leniency. If they feel they got justice then justice was served.

K'Tesh
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K'Tesh

“A car turns right onto SE Taylor from
SE 7th where a two truck operator right-hooked a
bicycle rider last month.”

MaxD
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MaxD

I work about one block form this intersection and it is a very unpleasant place to bike. I have been heading north on 6th (instead of 7th) from Taylor. Recently, PBOT added signs at Stark that indicate right turn only (for north and south bound traffic). This puts bikes on Stark which is even less bike-friendly than 7th or Grand! I have just been ignoring the signs the last couple of weeks, and emailed requests to PBOT for an explanation/request for a bike exclusion to the right-turn only have gone un-answered. Does anyone know what is going on with this intersection? A more germane question: Is there a central eastside ped/bike plan that can be influenced or implemented? This area is developing like mad! getting from east of 7th to the esplanade is no picnic, though.

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

No hit and run sucks, but depending on how the collision went down I can see where the driver might have not known that it happened. For example if the rider hit the back side of the truck, a cyclist probably wouldn’t even shake the tow truck. Not making excuses, but there are possibilities like that when dealing with such a heavy vehicle.

The good news is that it at least it looks like the VRU is starting to get some use…about time.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Additionally – the family in discussion with the tow truck driver may have also realized that if the truck driver were to loose his CDL based on the hit-and-run then he may be less able to financially contribute to the medical costs of the cyclist, etc.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Also, if may sound far fetched…but the PPB/ DA may have felt that they could not 100% tie the truck hit of the cyclist with the truck operator since he did not stop at the scene and was not seen by witnesses either reacting to the incident or being at the crash scene. For all the court knows is that the vehicle was there but the operator could have been switched, etc.

I have seen similar issues in court stymie cyclists claims for compensation and justice …especially with a jury of MV drivers…a jury of our peers(?). Our current laws and case law do not provide a lot of protection for cyclists (or pedestrians) and especially when they are not able to testify as to who struck them (if they were struck unconscious or dead) and with a witness(s).

Kristi Finney-Dunn
Guest

Speaking from experience, I know that the public often doesn’t know the whole story, not only of various details of these collisions but also of the specific whys and hows of the decisions made regarding charges. My first instinct in this case is to be disappointed there is no hit-and-run charge, but I realize there is something I don’t know that resulted in this. I can’t imagine it is because the family wants this driver to continue making money… for them.

While obviously that could be a valid consideration, it seems unlikely the legal system would choose to simply not charge a crime for that reason. Even though the DA in our case questioned whether she could *prove* manslaughter, she was willing to go forward -if we wanted to risk it- because she *believed* it was manslaughter.

Maybe there was simply nothing to prove the driver had to have known he’d hit a person; if there has been information about the damage to the truck, I haven’t heard it.

If the driver truly didn’t know he’d so badly injured someone, I find that disturbing on a whole other level.

jim
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jim

The city is wise not to pursue this too hard as they will probably end up getting sued for creating an unsafe condition for cyclists. It is never a good idea to have a straight ahead lane to the right of where cars are turning. The city knows this, but are too stubborn to admit they made a bad mistake.

Mabsf
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Mabsf

Just a minor thing and somewhat off topic: 16-year old MAN? Wouldn’t he be a teenager? I am just saying because the age range of whom we call man/woman seems to slide lower and lower…